A chilled tomato soup is most welcome on a sweltering summer day. Charring the tomatoes over coals or under the broiler adds a rustic smoky flavor to this one, while quartered and dressed cherry tomatoes and a spoonful of fresh ricotta or thick yogurt add substance and texture.
- 3 pounds ripe red tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch of ground cayenne
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
- 2 cups roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems (from 2 bunches)
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, mixed colors, cut in quarters
- 1 cup fresh ricotta or thick yogurt
- 2 tablespoons snipped chives, for garnish
- Prepare a charcoal grill or light the broiler. Remove cores from tomatoes and cut them in half horizontally. Season with salt and pepper on both sides and brush lightly with olive oil.
- Place tomatoes skin-side down on the grill and leave for about 10 minutes, until skins are blackened and tomatoes have softened slightly. (If using the broiler, place the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet skin-side up.) Transfer tomatoes to a large bowl.
- Add garlic, cayenne, coriander seeds, cilantro, 2 tablespoons olive oil and sherry vinegar. Stir all ingredients together. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes to allow flavors to marry.
- Purée tomato mixture with a blender or food processor. Strain through a medium mesh sieve, if desired. Thin with a little water if too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning. Chill well. (The soup will taste best if served within a few hours.)
- Put cherry tomatoes in a small bowl. Sprinkle with salt and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil.
- To serve, ladle the soup into chilled shallow bowls. Put a large spoonful of ricotta on top, and spoon cherry tomatoes over. Sprinkle with chives.