This post could also be called: "Why should you try things that sound weird?". The NYT's Diner's Journal Blog had a recipe on a Gazpacho with Vanilla Cream last week. It wasn't just the vanilla cream that was weird (the soup is salty, after all), but it also used a bottle of lemon flavored Perrier. The lemon flavored Perrier was the inspiration to the recipe, but I'm not keen on buying water that gets shipped over from France - period. Stupid recipe I thought.
Until I came across very reasonably priced organic tomatos at the farmers market. And lemons. And so I figured I could take another look at the recipe, and reinvent it in the same spirit. And perhaps the vanilla cream wasn't so bad after all.
The recipe calls for tomato paste - don't have any, so I opted for oven drying the slightly salted tomatos for 2 hours at 250 F. The tomatos had plenty of wonderful summer flavor, I just wanted to get a little of the water out.
And I wanted to remove the skins - these tomatos had pretty thick skin, and I just didn't fancy chewing on little bits of skin. They went in the blender, along with a peeled cucumber, some lemon zest and lemon juice and a little cream. I left out the tomato paste, the Perrier, and the salt - I had salted my tomatos before they went in the oven. And no need to splurge on fleur du sel unless you put it over in the last second. While still in the blender I put in some of my best olive oil. Not too much, but enough to give the soup some body. I put it in a bowl and stashed it in the freezer.
Just before serving I added a splash of carbonated water, to give it a little fizz. I'm not sure it actually did much, but it fizzled nicely. And I made a little bit of whipped cream - perhaps 1/4 cup before beating it - with the vanilla pulp of half a pod - I thought that was plenty.
The result is amazing! It's a very sublime taste, the lemon and its zest brings the tomato flavor out in full force. The EVOO makes it nice and thick. And the vanilla cream - what can I say - it sounds weird, but it rounded everything out. We had guests that night, and they said that it was better than what they had at one of our towns great restaurants the night before. For $8 / bowl!
Sorry, no recipe as I didn't measure anything, but I hope between my description and NYT recipe you'll be all set.