If we ever needed cold summer soups, it’s in August, when even the grass and trees are parched. The cold soup that probably comes to mind is gazapacho, the Spanish soup frequently made with tomatoes.
You can find plenty of gazpacho without tomatoes — often called “white gazpacho” and made with cucumbers, almonds and sometimes green grapes — but for a creamy pink gazpacho, check out this recipe from Adam Fleischman, founder of Umami Burger, whose new book is all about that savory “fifth taste.”
To increase the amount of umami in this recipe, Fleischman roasts the tomatoes and adds sherry vinegar when blending the ingredients. Like soy sauce, sherry vinegar is a quick way to add depth of flavor to a dish, and you’ll want to adjust the quantity according to your own tastes. He recommends letting the soup chill overnight to develop even more complexities, but I love the taste and texture of freshly made gazpacho and would serve it after letting it chill for about 30 minutes in the fridge.
The tomatoes are blended with the other vegetables to make a smooth, creamy, pink gazpacho. Tomatoes have the most umami flavor when they’re ripe, and are at their peak umami right off the vine. If you can find tomatoes on the vine at your farmers’ market or grocer, grab a bunch and put them to good use here. I roast the tomatoes for a more complex flavor; it’s an extra step, but worth it. The sherry vinegar is an umami sidekick that will amplify the umami.
— Adam Fleischman
2 pounds very ripe tomatoes
3 slices pain de mie, country loaf or other bread, crusts removed
1/2 medium onion, peeled
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 green bell pepper, cored and seeded
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar
Pimentón (smoked paprika) or red pepper flakes, for garnish
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat the tomatoes on all sides, then roast until their skins start to blister and they start to collapse a little bit, about 30 minutes. Don’t overcook and dry out the tomatoes; you want some of their liquid in the gazpacho, too. Peel the skins off the tomatoes and discard. Remove the seeds, then chop the tomatoes coarsely. Place the tomatoes in a blender and set aside while you prep everything else.
Place the bread slices in a bowl or casserole dish and pour in just enough sherry vinegar to soak the bread. Meanwhile, dice the onion, cucumber, garlic cloves and bell pepper. If you prefer a chunkier soup, reserve half of the diced veggies, refrigerate, and mix in at the very end before serving. Otherwise put all of the veggies in the blender with the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of sherry vinegar, the sugar and a big splash of water to thin it out.
Blend everything for a few seconds, then blend in the bread, in batches if everything doesn’t fit in one go. Add more water if the gazpacho is too thick for your liking, or another tablespoon of olive oil if the soup isn’t emulsifying and coming together.
Cover and chill the gazpacho in the fridge overnight. The next day, taste and readjust the seasonings. If you reserved half of the diced veggies, add them in now. Spoon into bowls and garnish with a pinch of the pimentón or red pepper flakes. Serves 4.
— From “Flavor Bombs: The Umami Ingredients That Make Taste Explode” by Adam Fleischman and Tien Nguyen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25)