Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes: Summer’s signature fruit is finally everywhere. And while hundreds of love apple lovers will be heading to the Kendall Jackson Tomato Festival on Saturday, there is another, quieter, smaller celebration, perfect if you don’t like big crowds or smack-down style cooking demos. As I wrote in today’s Mouthful, you can build your own BLT at Bardessono in Yountville tomorrow from 2 to 5 p.m. One of the things that makes this event so appealing, other than its limited size, is the quality of the ingredients you can select. For example, Chef Sean O’Toole is making bacon/sherry mayonnaise, basil aioli and other sauces perfect for slathering. There will also be delicious side dishes and several passed appetizers (when it comes to tomatoes, bring-it-to-me is a good thing). The cost is $50 per person; call 204-6030 for reservations.
In the meantime, Chef O’Toole shared his recipe for one of the passed appetizers,
Andalusian Gazpacho, Serves 6 to 8
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut in thin julienne
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, cut in thin julienne
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed, germ removed
- 1 jalapeno, stemmed and cut in half lengthwise
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 cup sliced cucumber
- 3/4 cup (about 2 slices) bread, in small chunks
- 3/4 cup (about 1/4 bunch) fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup best-quality red wine vinegar
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes, washed, stem cores removed, quartered
Put the bell pepper, onion, garlic and jalapeno into a medium glass bowl or other nonreactive container. Season with salt and toss. Add the cucumber, bread and basil leaves. In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, vinegars and olive oil and pour into the container. Top with the tomatoes, season with salt, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
To finish, blend the soup using a bermixer or other immersion blender and then transfer, in batches, to a traditional blender and pulse until smooth. Set a chinoise or other fine strainer over a large bowl and pass the pureed soup through it.
Taste and adjust for salt.
Serve cold in clear glass mugs or other small containers.