Home grown tomatoes or even those grown at your local farm have a succulent and sweet quality that make any dish feel like something steeped in the flavors of summer – even when it’s nearly autumn. Two relatively quick and fairly easy recipes are my favorite soup that my mom makes, Julia’s Gazpacho, and Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes. Both are lovely side dishes or starters or can be a light lunch when paired with fresh mozzarella and a baguette.
4 or 5 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 serano pepper, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup bread crumbs (fresh bread is best)
2 tablespoons medium-acid red wine vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1. Combine the chopped tomatoes, minced serano pepper, minced garlic, diced cucumbers, diced bell pepper, sliced onion, and all but 2 tablespoons of the cilantro in a food processor or blender. Mix to create a chunky consistency then pour into a large bowl. Add the tomato and lemon juices, bread crumbs, and vinegar. Stir briefly then add the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper.
2. Chill the soup for at least one hour before serving.
Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes
4 Roma tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Drizzle the olive oil over each tomato half, then sprinkle the basil, pepper, and garlic on top.
3. Place the tomato halves on a cookie sheet and place them six inches from the broiler. Bake for 10 minutes then change the oven from bake to broil. As the broiler is heating, slide the cookie sheet out far enough to sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top of each half. Return the sheet to its oven rack and close the oven door. After 2 to 5 minutes, remove the tomatoes from the oven and serve.
This post originally was published in my column in The New Mountain Tribute on September 1, 2005.