Sunshine Soup in a Culinary Terrarium: Golden Gazpacho

Sunshine Soup in a Culinary Terrarium:  Golden Gazpacho

If you have been searching for liquid essence of the summer sun, this is the soup for you.  The yellow gazpacho recipe from Ana Sortun’s Spice cookbook has a vibrant tomato flavor and a velvety texture from bread and good extra virgin olive oil.  Since the summer sun also has heat, I added a quarter of a habanero pepper which gives it a lovely floral citrusy punch.  If there is any chance you get pints of high quality cherry tomatoes (sungold or even red), please make this recipe before the end of the summer.

Although the recipe is simple (throwing a few things in a blender or food processor), I want to point out a couple techniques in the recipe which are important in terms of texture and consistency:

  • Using bread as a thickener in the soup.  Gazpacho without bread will separate out into liquid and pulp.  The bread acts as a “body” keeping the pulp, juice and olive oil to produce a well-bodied, smooth texture.
  • Straining the soup (in my case, a metal tea strainer) to get rid of skin and seeds and larger bits of bread.
  • Use of contrasting textures between smooth soup, crunchy juicy peppers and crunchy dry home-made croutons

Golden Gazpacho with Habanero

(Recipe modified slightly from Spice by Ana Sortun with a few ideas from Cooking Stoned around the use of habanero and styling)

Serves 2

  • 3 cups sungold tomatoes (I bought 2 pints from the farmers market with a cup left over)
  • 1/4 cup of torn ciabatta bread
  • 1 Tbs sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + 1 Tbs for croutons
  • 1/4 habanero pepper (optional, if you want to make it less spicy, remove the seeds as well)*
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder**
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder**
  • 1/4 tsp cumin-coriander power**
  • 1/2 Tbs salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup sparkling mineral water
  • 3/4 cup ciabatta bread cut into 3/4 inch cubes for croutons
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
  • 6 chives finely minced.
  1. Puree tomatoes, torn ciabatta bread, vinegar, olive oil and spices in a blender or food processor  until smooth.
  2. Strain the soup through a china cap or a metal tea strainer (like me).  Use a spoon to mash pulp against the mesh to extract as much liquid as possible.  Dispose of pulp.
  3. Stir sparkling mineral water into the soup and add salt to taste.
  4. Chill soup until cold.
  5. To make croutons, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high.
  6. Add cubed bread and toss to ensure cubes are evenly coated with oil.  Pan fry until sides are golden brown and croutons are crisp.
  7. To serve, divide the soup between two glasses or bowls.  Garnish with croutons, chopped red pepper and chives.  Pass around extra croutons for anyone who wants more.

* Habanero peppers are VERY spicy.  Wash your hands with soap after handling peppers and do not bring your hands near your eyes.

** The original recipe called for 1/4 tsp of curry powder but I didn’t have any.  Feel free to use curry power instead of the chili powder, cumin and cumin-coriander powder.