Our favorite chef, Ro Howe—owner of Barraud Caterers in New York City and a veteran contributor to Women’s Voices for Change—offers the first in a series of recipes that create odd (but happy) marriages.
One of the most successful partnerships throughout history, and recently regaining the spotlight, has been the collaboration between farmers and cooks. In the old days, chefs would cook what the farmers brought them from their fields and orchards, and cooks would learn to anticipate what would be in season as the days and weather progressed. Even after that idyllic time, chefs had a good grounding in what was seasonal and planned accordingly.
So what I’m suggesting is that it’s a good idea to keep track of what’s in the market when you’re planning your lunch or dinner menu. Sometimes even seemingly unlikely ingredients can dance the most wonderful summertime saraband!
“Does the world know about this?” a surprised friend of mine recently asked me by email. This turned out to be the combination of watermelon and tomato. Local tomatoes are coming into their own right now, and juice-heavy watermelons are lolling about on trucks just waiting to be adopted. The high acid that provides taste structure to tomatoes and the sweet, watery juice from watermelons are a perfect combination for a gazpacho. All you need is a juicer or food processor.
On your marks! Go!!
People often ask me the reason for the need for bread. Cooked, puréed soups include a thickening and binding agent—flour or rice. But this is a raw soup. It still needs the thickening, and especially the binding, qualities of a starch. Raw flour will not perform this function, but cooked flour or bread will bind the liquefied vegetables into a beautiful, smooth emulsion with the oil. Try it. It’s pretty, delicious, and magical!
Yield: Six to eight portions
Equipment: Juicer, food processor, measuring spoons and cups.
4 large, ripe, red heirloom tomatoes
½ chopped, seeded red pepper
½ diced red onion
4C seedless watermelon flesh
1C crusted, soaked, squeezed baguette or other good bread
5 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
¼ teaspoon Tabasco
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3C extra virgin olive oil
Cut baguette into 2-inch chunks and soak in cold water.
Place tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, and onion in juicer or food processor to liquefy thoroughly.
Remove soaked bread from water and squeeze gently.
Place all in manageable batches in food processor. Add vinegar, Tabasco, and salt and pepper. When all is well combined and puréed, drizzle in olive oil. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
Serve well chilled.