Ugly Tomatoes, Scrumptious Soup

Craig is convinced that the uglier the tomato looks the more delicious it tastes. We learned this last summer when we canned 75 pounds of quite nasty-looking heirloom tomatoes that gave us summer-fresh taste all winter. We picked up a few of the season’s first local heirloom tomatoes this past Saturday at the Kirkwoods Farmer's Market and used them in a gazpacho.

Typically, you think of red tomato-based gazpacho, but in Spain green and white gazpachos are quite popular. The original recipe calls for Green Zebra, but I think we ended up with Black Sea Men tomatoes. The avocado gives the soup creaminess while the garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro balance with the right amount of kick - and even more if you don't seed the jalapeno like we did. The mint just jumps out as summer fresh and the lime juice, instead of the traditional vinegar, can be as piquant or as subtle as you like. Be forewarned, the soup’s color is not as visually appealing as a traditional red tomato gazpacho. But this is a keeper – and repeater.

Green Tomato Gazpacho
2 lbs. Green Zebra tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped, plus 1 Green Zebra tomato cut into small wedges for garnish OR 2 lbs. unripe red tomatoes OR 2 lbs. tomatillos
1 cucumber unpeeled and coarsely chopped, plus finely diced unpeeled cucumber for garnish
1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 avocado - halved, pitted and peeled
1 small jalapeño, stemmed – remove seeds if you are heat-adverse
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup cold water
2 tablespoons mint leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a blender, combine half each of the coarsely chopped green tomatoes, cucumber and onion with the avocado, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice and water and puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to a large bowl.

Add the remaining coarsely chopped green tomatoes, cucumber and onion to the blender along with the 2 tablespoons of mint, the cilantro and 1/4 cup of olive oil and pulse to a chunky puree. Add the puree to the bowl and stir well. Refrigerate the soup until well chilled, about 1 hour. ***Next time I will allow it to chill longer.*** Season the gazpacho with salt and pepper and ladle it into chilled bowls. Garnish the cold soup with the tomato wedges, diced cucumber, mint leaves and a drizzle of olive oil and serve. This can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated overnight.

The original recipe indicated it makes 8-10 appetizer servings, so I cut it to about a third of the recipe and we each had nice sized servings.

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