Although the calendar says September and the city starts to be re-energized with Parisians returning from holidays and getting back into work and school routines, the burst of warm weather and sunshine has us holding onto summer as long as we can. With tomatoes rippened in the late summer sun filling the Paris markets, we’ve been enjoying a delicious gazpacho soup recipe recently. We like to have a big meal at lunchtime and then stick with soup and salad at dinnertime to keep the calories down. This recipe was a hit with Philippe, and we discovered that the difference is adding passata–the Italian name for a tomato purée used in so many pasta sauce recipes–to give the soup a richer tomato flavor. Our favorite toppings are chopped eggs, croutons and black olives, which add the perfect finishing touch!
Leftover white bread, baguette or other (about 1/2 a pound – or leave out to make gluten free)
1 kilo (a little over 2 pounds) ripe tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
3 crushed garlic cloves
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
6 Tbsp olive oil
500 ml (a little over 2 cups) tomato passata (purée)
Salt and pepper
1.) Pour cold water over the bread to cover, soak for 15 minutes
2.) Drain and squeeze excess water, put in processor
3.) Add tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, garlic, vinegar and olive oil
4.) Process all in a blender until smooth
5.) Pass ¾ of mixture through a sieve, pressing to extract all the juice.
6.) Throw out solids.
7.) Stir in the rest of the gazpacho
8.) Add the passata
9.) Mix together
10.) If you prefer a smooth soup, sieve all.
11.) Add salt and pepper to taste
12.) Chill soup for about 2 hours or overnight. It’s best to make it a day in advance to really enhance the flavor
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped in large pieces
Pitted black olives – preferably Greek olives
* Croutons: I make up a bunch every so often months with old baguettes and store them in the freezer. It’s easy and delicious: slice old baguettes or lay out square bread slides. Make a mixture of olive oil, a little garlic paste and salt to taste. Brush over the bread. Cut into squares, stick in the oven at 160 C (320 F) until toasty. (Alternatively, cut into squares and sauté olive oil mixture with bread squares in a skillet).