It’s hot in Los Angeles. It’s not supposed to be hot here. It’s supposed to be 76 and sunny. But, more and more it seems, it gets hot in LA. When that happens a cold soup – full of ripe, summery flavor – is a refreshing relief. Sweet like summer and a little bit spicy, this chilled Sungold tomato soup combines tomatoes and corn to find just the right balance to cool down a hot summer night. It’s remarkably sophisticated despite how few ingredients are actually in the bowl.
That’s because the tomatoes are the star of this chilled soup. But not just any tomato. I made this golden bowl of chilled tomato soup using super sweet Sungold tomatoes fresh from the farm.
Sungold tomatoes are sweet. They have one of the highest Brix ratings (a measurement for the sugar content in fruits and vegetables) of any tomato. Meaning Sungolds are just about the sweetest tomato you will ever eat. In fact, they’re so sweet and juicy they’ll remind you that tomatoes are indeed fruits. Put a bowl of these bite-size, bumblebee-yellow beauties on the counter and watch yourself sneaking handfuls like a kid in the cookie jar.
But you probably won’t find Sungold tomatoes at a supermarket near you. They don’t travel well because their skins are so thin. They can crack on the vine when it rains or burst during shipping. The big farms stay away from growing them. Thankfully, Sungold tomatoes, which aren’t an heirloom variety but are a hybrid bred specifically for sweetness, are a staple of many backyard gardeners and can also be found at many farmers’ markets.
Chilled Sungold Tomato Soup
I could call this Chilled Sungold Tomato Summer Soup a gazpacho – but I’m not going to. True it’s a chilled soup featuring raw vegetables, but this summer tomato soup is more delicate than its rustic Spanish cousin. Besides I like the idea of a summer soup – whether it’s a traditional blending of tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper, onion, oil and vinegar as in gazpacho – or something less expected like today’s sweet tomato and spicy corn pairing. However, there’s a secret to keeping these soups from becoming little more than pulverized salad.
That secret is balance, and you probably knew that.
Traditional gazpacho balances bright acidity with aromatic flavors. A poorly made gazpacho has aggressively raw flavors. Good gazpacho or summer soup, like a good wine, will linger on the palate in a pleasing way that transforms the initial taste experience.
Because Sungold tomatoes and summer corn are so sweet they need a savory balance to keep from becoming a ghastly ice cream topping. I tried to achieve that balance in this Sungold Tomato Soup with a big splash of vinegar and a scoop of chili-garlic sauce. It’s just salty, spicy, and pungent enough to keep those sweet, sweet Sungold tomatoes in line. GREG