Make the soup by pulsing ripe tomatoes with other abundant vegetables — or go the rustic route, as California landmark Chez Panisse does, and use a mortar and pestle to smash cloves of garlic, and a grater to crush fresh heirloom tomatoes. See both versions of this classic refreshing soup when you
3 small fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped
1 sweet onion (such as Vidalia), roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 red bell peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, diced (or one 14.5-ounce can chopped tomatoes, undrained)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups (32 ounces) tomato or vegetable juice
Juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
Lemon or lime wedges
- Place the fennel, celery, scallions, onion, garlic, and red peppers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not pureed.
- Transfer to a large glass or plastic bowl and stir in the tomatoes, oil, salt, black pepper, tomato juice, lemon juice, and hot sauce, if desired.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve chilled with the lemon or lime wedges.
1 dried ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
1 1⁄2 cups crustless, cubed day-old country white bread
2–3 cloves garlic, peeled
5 lbs. best available vine-ripened red tomatoes, halved
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 lb. mixed varieties and colors small vine-ripened
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 small sweet yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1⁄2 small red onion, peeled and diced
Leaves from 1⁄2 bunch chervil, chopped
Leaves from 1⁄2 bunch basil, chopped
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices country white bread, brushed with extra-virgin
Olive oil, toasted, and rubbed with 1 clove peeled garlic
- Make the soup: Soak chile in a bowl of hot water until soft, about 30 minutes.
- Drain, peel, and crush to a paste with a mortar and pestle; set aside.
- Soak bread cubes in a medium bowl of cold water until soft, about 5 minutes. Drain, squeeze out excess water, and set aside.
- Crush garlic with 2 tbsp. salt to a paste with a mortar and pestle, add soaked bread, and grind until smooth; set aside.
- Grate cut side of tomatoes just to skin on large holes of box grater into a strainer set over a large bowl, straining out seeds and pressing through as much pulp as possible; discard skins.
- Stir reserved chile paste, garlic-bread paste, and oil into tomato pulp and season to taste with salt. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
- Make the relish: For the relish: Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, chervil, basil, vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.
- Divide soup between 6 bowls; add a generous spoonful of relish and a slice of toast to each bowl.