At first bite the flavor of this smooth tomato soup seems to be reminiscent of gazpacho. But it takes on an Asian twist when you discover the melon garnish. It’s a surprising and beautiful dish.
- 2 pound tomatoes
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 6 whole basil leaves, or some fennel fronds plus small sprigs, for garnish
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper
- 1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and chopped into tiny uniform dice
- ¼ cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and chopped into tiny uniform dice
- ½ cup water
Working over a bowl core the tomatoes and chop them roughly, combining them in a saucepan with their seeds and collected juice. Add the garlic, basil or fennel leaves, oil, vinegar and sugar, a big pinch of salt, about ¼ teaspoon black pepper and the water. Heat to 150 degrees F, hot but well below boiling. we want to keep the fresh taste of the tomatoes.
Remove the pan from the heat once the temperature is achieved. Then strain the mixture through a not too fine-meshed sieve, use the back of a wooden spoon to push some of the pulp through. You just to remove skins, seeds and basil leaves. Cool over a bowl of ice water, or in the refrigerator. Taste and adjust seasonings.
When you are ready to eat, divide the small dice of cucumber and melon among 4 bowls and pour the chilled soup over them. Garnish with basil and serve.