You know those magical recipes that come together effortlessly and completely capture the essence of good eating? This is one of those. Bookmark this now and make it tonight. I’m not kidding. You can thank me later. The recipe couldn’t be simpler: coarsely chop tomatoes, peaches, shallot, and tarragon. Blend with a splash of white wine vinegar, a glug of olive oil, a few ice cubes, and a dash of salt and pepper. Strain and chill. Make an extremely simple peach and tomato salsa to top it with, and done. It’s that easy. And you’ll feel like you’re eating at Chez Panisse.
This soup is Summer through and through. Cool and refreshing and highlighting some of my favorite summer produce, I could eat it all day long. I’m sad that I hadn’t discovered it in September of 2005, when Gourmet first printed the recipe. That’s nearly two seasons of peaches and tomatoes that could have become this amazing soup! Well, I guess I’ll just have to make up for lost time. You can bet what I’m serving Henning for his first meal back here in San Diego. Yep. 100%.
While my mother and I were making this soup, we had to really restrain ourselves from taste testing it too much. I swear, we probably could have finished the whole batch right there, spooning from the food processor. Oh yes, and we certainly did not “discard” the solids after straining. They went straight into our bellies, a little snack for the chefs. Who could throw such amazing flavors into the trash? So what if they’ve a few seeds and skin bits. After straining, however, the soup takes on a wonderfully silken texture, and when topped with the salsa, it’s downright heavenly. When you get a little chunk of peach in your spoon, the sweetness of the peach harmonizes with the slightly acidic soup so perfectly, my goodness. Mmm. And the light anise scent from the tarragon; it’s just plain spectacular.
Peach and Tomato Gazpacho
From Gourmet, via Epicurious
1 1/2 lb tomatoes
1 lb peaches
1/4 cup crushed ice
2 tablespoons chopped shallot (1 medium)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup water (optional)
Roughly chop 1 lb of the tomatoes and 1/2 lb of the peaches to make about 3 cups tomatoes and 1 cup peaches. In a food processor, purée them with the ice, shallot, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 teaspoons tarragon, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender until very smooth, about 1 minute. Force through a medium-mesh sieve into a large glass measure, discarding snacking on solids. Stir in water to desired consistency (I didn’t add any).
Cut remaining peaches and tomatoes to a medium dice and toss together with remaining tablespoon oil, remaining 1/2 tablespoon vinegar, remaining teaspoon tarragon, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a bowl. Serve soup in bowls topped with tomato peach salsa.
Serves 4 as a light first course.