pleasant thoughts tomato soup

I posted on cold soup once before, and it was a hit. It even got me a link on Wikipedia. (Applause may now commence.) I tried another one last night from my latest Bon Appetit, titled unassumingly “Summer Tomato and Bell Pepper Soup,” and with one spoonful fell instantly in love.

chilled tomato soup with goat cheese

I approached this cold soup with some reluctance. The recipe began, however, with the promise that “ripe summer tomatoes are perfect just as they are…” and I was lured deeper. Summer tomatoes simply make me weak.

The day had been another scorcher. Some new friends were coming over for dinner, and I was determined to use as little heat as possible for my prep. I still had to visit three different locations to procure the appropriate ice cream, roasted red peppers, and good bread, but managed to keep my cool. The dessert was baked early in the morning, and the main course quickly seared and delivered to plates without too much of a sweat.

chilled tomato red pepper goat cheese soup

All the other accoutrements were served in the cool-as-a-cucumber-style of this fresh first course.

This soup’s preparation is as simple as a sandwich. “But I’m not a cook,” you might say. Well, this here concoction involves none of that intimidating heating-of-ingredients business. Like all simple dishes, the result rests only on the quality of your ingredients, not your skill.

chilled tomato red pepper soup goat cheese

Finding those really special tomatoes was, I have to admit, a bit of a chore. I tasted local tomatoes at the co-op, and smelled red globes at two major grocery chains: Disappointment lurked in every overflowing bin. The mushy, bland, and boring specimens reminded me that my dear tomatoes just haven’t yet hit their peak. But I wasn’t willing to give up yet. A stop at a friend’s garden led me to lush green plants bearing their tiny, heavy treasures.

In all shades of fire the tomatoes fell into my hands and into my soup. Yes, I still had to use some less-than-perfect “over the counter” tomatoes to plump it up a bit, but I believe it was these little explosions of sweetness that truly saved the day.

chilled tomato goat cheese soup

chilled tomato and goat cheese soup

Just when I thought I’d have to kiss my soup craving goodbye until November, this one snuck up and told the humidity where to go. I instantly fell under its spell of fresh-picked tomato goodness, because, as American humorist Lewis Grizzard wrote, “It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” I couldn’t agree more.

Summer Tomato and Bell Pepper Soup

serves four

Ingredients

2 and a 1/4 cups low-sodium tomato juice (I used  Knudsen’s)
1 and a 1/3 cups finely chopped ripe, vine-ripened tomatoes
½ cup generous finely chopped roasted red bell peppers from jar (or roast and skin your own)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T prepared white horseradish (don’t worry, it just adds a zing and you barely notice it!) or squeeze of lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
Generous dash of hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
Fine sea salt
4 rounds soft fresh goat cheese
6 grape tomatoes, cut in half
Thinly sliced fresh basil

Preparation

  1. Combine everything up to the hot pepper sauce in a large bowl, whisk to blend. Season soup to taste with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled and flavors blend, at least 2 hours. (Can be made up to 6 hours ahead, keep chilled.)
  2. Serve each bowl with a goat cheese round and 3 grape tomato halves. Sprinkle with fresh pepper and basil. Drizzle with more olive oil, if desired, and serve with good crusty bread for dipping.

Bon Appetit, August 2009

7 thoughts on “pleasant thoughts tomato soup

  1. Mom B
    August 22, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Clap, clap, clap. clap, clap! Looks so good Jen! Maybe we can come visit in the summer sometime and you can make this for me, (you know how Lorne is about peppers!).

    1. Jen
      August 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm

      For all those red-pepper abstainers, trust me, you can’t even taste them. They are chopped up so fine none of my guests noticed them, and they add a nice smoky, rounded-out flavor. Take the plunge!

  2. August 22, 2009 at 11:40 am

    This looks so good Jen, I am pretty much in love with roasted red peppers these days!! oOo, you know whats really good? RRP and feta on pizza!!! mmmmmm.

  3. June
    August 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    we miss you jen! this looks delicious.

  4. Anonymous
    August 23, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Looks good, never tried cold soup, I’ll give it a go as my toms are now ripening despite England’s bad weather!

  5. August 23, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    I rarely eat cold soup. Not sure why. This one looks wonderfully fresh and packed with delicious tomato goodness. I have tomatoes all over my counters right now that need something to do. I love that you topped it off with a little Chevre!

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    December 10, 2011 at 8:52 am

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