Chefs from Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, collaborated on this wonderful summer soup, using only organic produce. This recipe is their version of the Spanish classic.
FOR THE SOUP:
- 1 dried ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
- 1 1⁄2 cups crustless, cubed day-old country white bread
- 2 - 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 5 lb. best available vine-ripened red tomatoes, halved
- 1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
FOR THE RELISH:
- 1⁄2 lb. mixed varieties and colors small vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
- 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1 small sweet yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
- 1⁄2 small red onion, peeled and diced
- Leaves from ½ bunch chervil, chopped
- Leaves from ½ bunch basil, chopped
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 slices country white bread, brushed with extra-virgin olive oil, toasted, and rubbed with 1 clove peeled garlic
For the soup: Soak chile in a bowl of hot water until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, peel, and crush to a paste with a mortar and pestle; set aside. Soak bread cubes in a medium bowl of cold water until soft, about 5 minutes. Drain, squeeze out excess water, and set aside. Crush garlic with 2 tbsp. salt to a paste with a mortar and pestle, add soaked bread, and grind until smooth; set aside. Grate cut side of tomatoes just to skin on large holes of box grater into a strainer set over a large bowl, straining out seeds and pressing through as much pulp as possible; discard skins. Stir reserved chile paste, garlic-bread paste, and oil into tomato pulp and season to taste with salt. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
For the relish: Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, chervil, basil, vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Divide soup between 6 bowls; add a generous spoonful of relish and a slice of toast to each bowl.