In my opinion, there is no better way to enjoy the best of the season than with this simple soup that requires no cooking. This is basically the French version of a traditional Gazpacho (which I cannot pronounce to save my life and it is the running joke with my two Spanish friends here in France…I swear, every time we go for tapas, they make me say it!).
This soup was one of the easiest things I’ve prepared in a long time, except for the slight problem I encountered, given that I don’t have my handheld stick blender in France and the 6 euro food mill I bought just didn’t do the trick to purée the soup. Oh well, it was just a little chunkier than called for, but I didn’t mind.
Even without cooking, the flavours of this soup are absolutely incredible. It is light and fresh, with a slight kick (which you can control with the addition of the cayenne pepper). It is absolutely perfect for a summer day, and it comes with the bonus that you don’t have to heat the stove to prepare it.
CH and I enjoyed this soup with a fresh baguette the first night and the next day I prepare some pasta and tossed it with the leftover soup, which made for a delicious pasta salad that we took to the park with us.
Although simple and easy to prepare, don’t be fooled. It is an absolutely gorgeous soup that presents as though a lot of work has gone into preparing it (and it tastes like it too!)
Sometimes it’s the simplest of things in life that we enjoy the most.
Summer Tomato and Basil Soup
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes (and overnight in the fridge)
Cook Time: 0
- 2 lbs (900 g) very ripe, summer fresh tomatoes, quartered, seeded and diced
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1/2 red pepper, cored and diced
- 1 clove of garlic, grated
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 cup (250ml) vegetable stock or tomato juice
- 16 basil leaves, julienned
- Pinch of cayenne
- Honey (optional – depending on how acidic your tomatoes are)
- 1/4 cup croutons (store bought or homemade)
In a large bowl (preferably one with a lid), toss together the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, red pepper, garlic, breadcrumbs, red wine vinegar and 12 basil leaves. Stir the mixture well until evenly coated.
Cover the mixture (with a tight fitting lid or with plastic wrap) and place in the fridge overnight, or for a minimum of 8 – 10 hours (the longer the better).
The next day, remove the mixture from the fridge and using your handheld blender or a food processor, purée the soup until smooth.
Add in a dash of cayenne pepper and taste. Adjust seasonings to your liking. You may also need to add a teaspoon of honey (or sugar), depending on how acidic your tomatoes were.
Serve cold with the remaining basil leaves and croutons.
Recipe Adapted From Laura Calder – French Food At Home