Serves 6 to 8
This flavor-packed cold soup makes a great dinner starter or a satisfying lunch with bread and cheese. Make extra garlic croutons—they’re a tempting snack.
4 large tomatoes, peeled, cored, quartered
1 medium Vidalia, Walla Walla, or other sweet onion, quartered
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into pieces
2 or 3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into 8 or 10 pieces
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Angostura bitters
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Fresh ground pepper
10 fresh basil leaves, minced
Garlic croutons (recipe below)
1. In a food processor, combine tomatoes, onion, pepper, garlic, and cucumber. Pulse until almost smooth, leaving enough vegetable bits to make an interesting texture.
2. Stir in 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lime juice, olive oil, bitters, salt, pepper, and basil.
3. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Remove from refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving and taste for seasoning; adjust with vinegar or lime juice, salt, or pepper. Serve cold garnished with croutons.
Makes 1 slice of bread per person
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 large slices of whole-grain bread cut into bite-sized cubes
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced fine
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced (or scant teaspoon dried thyme)
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
2. When the butter is melted, add the bread cubes and toss to coat. Sauté and stir for 5 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and thyme and toss and stir 4 minutes more. Reduce heat to medium low if necessary.
4. Add the paprika and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss for another minute or two and taste for seasoning.
5.Turn the croutons onto a plate to cool, or serve immediately. These can be made ahead, but if the kitchen is humid they’ll get soggy if they sit too long. Garnish the soup with the croutons just before serving and pass any extras in a bowl.