Summer scorcio has hit big time in my part of the Mediterranean. 32 degrees C today! In the car, my dashboard let alone the bonnet could fry an egg. And we’re in early June, with my son’s two weeks of exams about to start; uggh. This means my revising (with him, for him? not sure which!) and far less time to think about supper.
So, fuss-free cooking is order of the day as temps soar and stress factors rise. This vibrant gazpacho (with a few non-trad extras to pack punch) is the first in my 15-day series of Simple Summer Supper recipes. The theme is along the line of ‘Make it Mediterranean and easy like summer livin‘ with a menu that can tempt all the family too of course.
The next two weeks see my repertoire of summer supper dishes that are light, leisurely to make and yet luscious with flavours that more than make up for the lack of complex ingredients and lengthy stints cooking!
Roasting the tomatoes and capers first concentrates flavours; you can leave the oven belching while you decamp to the garden! They take just 30 mins anyway. Or griddle them on a flat plate of the BBQ. Blitz up in the blender (don’t bother to skin the tomatoes first) with a bit of Greek yoghurt or sour cream, some water, and add a tablespoon of Green Thai Curry Paste for some zing. Serve warm, room temperature or cold with ice cubes Gazapacho style. If you do serve cold you can add some diced cucumber mixed with chopped basil and raw diced tomato for more freshness per mouthful. We had this at ambient temperature, as despite the intense heat, I am not a huge fan of ice cubes bobbing in soups! But it is equally delicious any temp.
Wrap some Parma ham or similar choice cured ham around a few bread sticks to serve alongside. And that’s all there is to it.
All images © Liz Ayling 2014
- 1.5 kg ripe tomatoes, ideally Pacchino (plum) variety but any will do
- some extra virgin olive oil
- good handful of capers (or to your taste) – in salt or brine
- good handful fresh basil
- some grated Parmesan
- 1 tbsp Green Thai Curry paste
- sea salt & fresh milled black pepper
- Greek yoghurt or sour cream – around 250ml
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C (fan). Wash tomatoes and slice in half. Place skin side down on a metal baking tray.
- Rinse the capers in a sieve from the brine or salt and shake to drain. Toss over the sliced tomatoes. Rip up some fresh basil and toss over as well. Sprinkle on some sea salt and grind over some black pepper. Drizzle the tomatoes with a couple of tbsps extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle on some grated Parmesan and place them in the pre-heated oven to roast up for around 30 minutes until soft through and browning a little on top. Remove the tomatoes and allow to cool.
- Place the tomatoes and the Green Thai Curry Paste in a blender or food processor (the latter leaves the soup coarser), and blend up until a thick puree; add some water to loosen to the desired thickness. You will need to blend the tomatoes in batches.
- Place the tomato soup in a saucepan, if reheating, and add more water at this stage if you find it too thick. Reheat to desired temperature. If you want it cold, don’t reheat and simply chill in a fridge for a couple of hours.
- When ready to serve, stir through one tbsp thick yoghurt or sour cream. Serve with extra yoghurt dolloped on top and garnish with some extra capers and fresh basil. It’s nice accompanied with grissini (bread sticks) wrapped in cured ham.