In late summer, when tomatoes are at their ripest, I crave slices of heirlooms and mozzarella sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil, rather than a cold soup of diced raw veggies, heavy on the tomatoes. Then I tried a gazpacho by Dani Garcia, a prodigy of molecular cooking and chef at Restaurant Calima, in Marbella, off the southern coast of Spain. His gazpacho is a sweet puree of cherry tomatoes studded with pistachios and anchovies, topped with cheese snow (made with liquid nitrogen). In this version, whirl native tomatoes with garlic, chilies, sherry vinegar, and cumin. Strain the mixture and stir in chunks of tomato and cucumbers. Instead of preparing Garcia’s snow, make some by freezing feta or goat cheese and scraping it over the bowls. It’s gazpacho from its country of origin - gone modern.
|1/4||cup feta or goat cheese|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|1||cup crust-free, fresh diced bread|
|2 1/2||pounds (about 8) ripe medium tomatoes, cored and quartered|
|2||cloves garlic, peeled|
|1/2||serrano chili (with seeds)|
|1||tablespoon sherry vinegar, plus more as needed|
|1||large pinch ground cumin|
|6||tablespoons olive oil|
|1/2||cup finely chopped, seed-free cucumbers|
|1/3||cup shelled green pistachios, toasted|
|2||anchovy fillets, finely chopped (optional)|
|4||fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced|
2. In another bowl, combine the bread and water. Squeeze out and discard the water.
3. Seed and finely chop enough tomatoes to fill a 1/2-cup measure. Sprinkle with salt.
4. In a food processor, chop the garlic and chili with a large pinch of salt. Add the bread, remaining tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and cumin. Pulse until soupy. With the motor running, pour in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil.
5. Work the soup through a sieve into a bowl; add salt and pepper.
6. Stir the cucumber and diced tomatoes into the soup. Cover and chill.
7. Before serving, ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with pistachios, anchovies, if using, basil, and a drizzle of the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Use the tines of a fork to scrape the frozen cheese mixture and top the bowls with cheese snow. Jill Santopietro