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Chilled Tomato Soup with Aged Feta and Olives

For this chilled tomato soup, we use a variety of tomatoes when available, perhaps Cherokee Purple, Aunt Ruby’s, and Green Zebra. Sun Golds, a little cherry tomato, are a favorite garnish. The feta and olives add the extra salt needed to bring out the pure tomato flavor.–Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer

LC Um, Isn't This Just Gazpacho? Note

Nope, this most certainly is not gazpacho. It’s more complex in terms of taste—though not at all complicated to make—and calls for cooking as well as some ingredients not common to gazpacho. It does, however, have the same soothing, chilling effect as that other chilled tomato soup on all those who partake.

Chilled Tomato Soup with Aged Feta and Olives Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 35 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, preferably Sun Golds or other heirlooms, cored, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup thickly sliced leek, white part only (1 small leek)
  • 1/4 cup diced fennel bulb
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • Bouquet garni (2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, and 2 sprigs fresh basil tied together with butcher’s or kitchen twine)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, preferably homemade
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Celery salt to taste
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, preferably barrel aged, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup black Taggiasche (Ligurian) or Niçoise olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, julienned

Directions

  • 1. To make the chilled tomato soup, bring a large pot of water to a boil. With a sharp knife, make an “X” in the bottom of each tomato. Plunge the tomatoes into the water and cook for 1 minute. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. Using your fingertips, slip off and discard the skins and remove the seeds. Roughly chop the tomatoes and place them in a bowl along with their juices.
  • 2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, fennel, celery, red pepper, garlic, and bouquet garni. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the tomato paste, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices, return to a boil, then lower the heat and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer to a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cold, 1 to 2 hours.
  • 3. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Purée the soup in a food processor or blender, working in batches if necessary, until smooth. (You’ll have about 7 cups.) Season to taste with hot sauce, celery salt, and salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to serve. (The soup will keep in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to a few days.)
  • 4. To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls or one large serving bowl and garnish with the feta, olives, basil, a few chopped tomatoes or halved Sun Gold tomatoes, and a drizzle of olive oil.
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