Ok y'all, I'm a bit late posting this, and you’ll have to forgive me. But then – and I mean immediately; do not pass go, do not wait for September to drift into fall – you must get off the couch and make this soup.
Just last week, the dog days of summer seemed a permanent fixture. Now, as I’m walking to the farmers’ market, I find myself rubbing my hands together, picking up that pace a bit, and reaching for….a cardigan. Fall’s crept up on me again. Every year, I bemoan the end of tomatoes and nectarines, my shortsighted lack of urgency in eating as many of those beautiful beefsteaks and heirlooms as possible. Now I’m making a mad dash for those tomatoes, eating a peach after lunch every day and one in the evening as well, trying to cram as much of the rapidly depleting summer produce down my craw as time will allow.
My fridge is only so large; not, apparently, large enough; those 5 pounds of peaches that I bought last week have softened, ripened, and softened some more. Last night, I came home to some peaches practically begging to be eaten. Ditto the beautiful red tomatoes, which, seemingly suddenly, after a short stay on my counter (never store tomatoes in the fridge; it ruins them), were near-overripe.
I didn’t have quite enough tomatoes to make a sauce-making project worthwhile. As for the peaches, in the past week, I’d made two cakes and a crostada with them and some nectarines. I needed a change of pace.
Here’s the part where we rewind a few days, and I explain the real reason I made this soup. Yes, I wanted to make something savory with peaches and tomatoes. That’s all true. But here’s the rub: my friend B brought this over one Friday night, and I ate so much of it, so quickly, I’m not sure I left any for her to try. This soup is the best thing since sliced bread, and since I first had it, I’ve made it three times. “And only now I tell you?!?” Yes. I’m sorry. (‘Tis the season of forgiveness!) Now go and make it, while peaches and tomatoes are still around. There’s plenty of time for apples and kale, squash and potatoes. We’ll talk about those next week. For now, make this soup, and drink up those last drops of summer while you can. And if you’re as bummed as I am about the end of this season, you can make a big batch of this soup to freeze or can; I’ll be doing just that.
Peach Tomato Gazpacho Adapted from Gourmet
Note: this recipe has you puree part of the ingredients into soup, and combine what remains into a rustic salsa with which to serve the soup. I’ve done this once, and it’s quite delicious – but feel free to simply blend everything together and serve with the cubed avocado and a light drizzle of oil, as pictured. If doing this, don’t add all the salt immediately; taste the blended soup and only add as much as is needed.
1 1/2 lb tomatoes, chopped (4 cups) 1 lb peaches, pitted and chopped (2 cups) 2 tablespoons chopped shallot (1 medium) 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar 1 tablespoon chopped chives 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 to 1/2 cup water 1/2 avocado, chopped
Purée two thirds of tomatoes and half of peaches with shallot, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 teaspoons chives, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender until very smooth, about 1 minute. Force through a medium-mesh sieve, discarding solids. Stir in water to desired consistency.
Toss together remaining tomatoes and peaches with remaining tablespoon oil, remaining 1/2 tablespoon vinegar, remaining teaspoon chives, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a bowl. Serve soup in bowls topped with tomato peach salsa.