The season’s first tomatoes start showing up at local farmer’s markets the last week of July. By the second week of August when my 20 pound box of juicy, delicious, pommes d'amour arrives, I am ready to begin preserving all the sunshine. In South Carolina, I learned to fry green tomatoes. The red varieties are set aside for salads, pizza toppings, paninis, and old-fashioned tomato sauce. Five weeks of a full tomato share ensures that plenty of tomatoes will end up in Ziplock bags in the freezer to be savored when the skies turn gray and supermarket tomatoes look okay but taste mealy. Any gold or chartreuse tomatoes I set aside for this gorgeous gazpacho. One sip and any taster will look like a happy face emoji.
Nota bene: This gazpacho may be frozen for up to three months. A bit of infused garlic oil, more basil, and some red chili flakes turn this summer sipping soup into a delicious any time of year (if it lasts that long) pasta sauce.
6 pints yellow or gold tomatoes, any size, shape or variety
Fine sea salt
4 medium leaves of basil
Extra virgin olive oil—the best available, optional
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
2. Use a sharp knife to make an X on the non- core end of the tomato.
3. Lower the water to simmer and gently lower the tomatoes into the pot.
4. After one minute, use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes.
5. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, gently pull off the skin (if small grape tomatoes, leave the skin on) and use a paring knife to cut out any hard cores.
6. Put the tomatoes in a Dutch oven over medium heat. As the tomatoes begin to heat through they will begin to pop.
7. Add 2 teaspoons sea salt and continue cooking over medium heat for 30 minutes.
8. Use an immersion blender to further break up the tomatoes into a uniform consistency.
9. Taste for seasoning and add salt as necessary. Lower the heat to low and continue cooking until the tomatoes have reduced by half. This may take up to two hours. Cool the soup and refrigerate for at least two hours and up to two days.
10. Just before serving, divide the gazpacho among serving dishes.
11. Stack the basil leaves one on top of the other and roll like a cigar. Slice into thin strips.
12. Drizzle the top of each gazpacho with a tiny bit of olive oil and add a garnish with small bit of basil.