One Last Tomato Hurrah

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gazpachoThis summer I made a vow to get over to the farmers' market—any farmers' market—once a week. For the most part I've managed to do it. And for the past 3 or 4 months I've purchased a bag of fresh ripe tomatoes each week. Ever since they hit the market, I've been obsessed. And now I'm in a downright panic, as they are on their way out.

This week, I had a pile of gorgeous Ella Bella tomatoes—my favorite tomato vendor at the SF farmers' market who just pulled up stakes and moved to Hawaii, wah!—which were threatening to go bad (it's been a busy week!). So, as my one last hurrah, and in celebration of the amazingly sweet, delicious tomatoes I had on hand, I came up with this super fresh, super fast, and super easy gazpacho. It's a delicious way to bid tomatoes farewell for another year.

There are tons of versions of gazpacho, a soup that, at its best, lets the flavor of sweet, seasonal tomatoes shine. It is by far one of my favorite soups of all time, simple perfection on a hot summer day (well, at least for us in the Bay Area where it still seems to be summer). This Andalucian-style version is inspired by a recipe from Wild Honey restaurant in London.

Last Hurrah Gazpacho

Serves: 4

About 5–6 large ripe heirloom tomatoes
1/2 jar roasted piquillo peppers (about 5 peppers or 5 ounces)
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 small garlic clove
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Hot sauce, such as Melinda's habañero sauce


For garnishing:
Cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
Avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
Olive oil, for drizzling
Croutons or sliced, toasted sourdough baguette

1. Have ready a medium-mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Halve the tomatoes crosswise and squeeze the seeds into the sieve. Cut out the stem, chop the tomatoes and put in a blender. Add the juice from the bowl and discard the seeds.

2. Add the peppers, cucumber, garlic, Worcestershire, vinegars, and oil, and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Pour the soup through the sieve set over the bowl. Transfer to an airtight container and chill for at least an hour, and up to a day.

3. Garnish with cucumber, avocado, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with the croutons scattered over the top or toasted baguette.