Cold soup? Ew. I never would have thought to eat something like THAT.
But that was before a trip to New York where I’d stood in a line, a long line; could you even imagine, in New York?
However, I was prepared, I had my money ready, but I still couldn’t decide. I was at Al’s Soup Kitchen International, so the last thing I wanted was someone shouting the theatrical “no soup for you” at me.
It was hot and I was next. I love lobster and after a night before at City Crab, I was eying the lobster bisque. The stress and unseasonable warmth made my cash moist in my clutched hand. I swallowed hard when I heard the famous and firm “next” and before I knew it my brain made a quick decision and I blurted out for the gazpacho.
This was my voice – I heard it. What had I done? I wanted the bisque not the cold vegetable soup. But obeying the signs, I had my money ready and moved immediately to the left after ordering.
I paid, I moved and waited – briefly.
I found a rock in Central Park where I could perch and people watch. In the few blocks it took to walk there, I’d decided to embrace my gazpacho like a true New Yorker, I owned it. It was mine now, so I was going to like it, no matter what.
All perfect in a brown bag, it had come with bread, fruit, napkin, cutlery, even a little chocolate – how sweet. This guy couldn’t have been as bad as everyone made him out to be. It looked good. It smelled good. But cold, raw and fresh just didn’t seem like soup and I just couldn’t get my mind around the notion. Tomato soup is so with a grilled cheese in November, at least in my mind.
I’d closed my eyes and hoped for the best. And, by God, it was one of the best, most perfect things I’d could have ever tasted. The shock it sent my mouth into was utter craziness. It was refreshing for the hot spring day but it still had enough kick to make me sweat, as the spice of the peppers warmed up my mouth. It was awesome.
Soup has always been an amazing food. It’s comfort food, scrap food, soul food – personal food. It’s a dash of this and a use up of that, it’s taste it then add a bit more. I’ve been trying to recreate that flavour of Manhattan on a hot day all to myself and up until now, I never really could.
It was still a bit of this taste and try some more of that but I just knew when I went for that first taste and I still closed my eyes trying not to forget it was cold. I’m still always nervous eating cold soup. I know now that it can be good it’s just that my brain is being played such a trick as I occasionally find myself blowing on it before slurping the spoonful.
It had the fresh heat from the tiny crunch of the slivered jalepeño and the soothing burst of cool from the flecks of cucumber and tomato making this soup, so summer perfect.
1/2 White Onion
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 Jalapeño Pepper, seeded
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
3 Large Field or Beefsteak Tomatoes
1 English Cucumber, seedless
1 – 28 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes with juice
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Fresh Italian Parsley
1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 Avocado, diced
In a food processor, finely chop the onion and the garlic, followed by the jalapeño pepper.
Core and chop the tomatoes, add to the processor.
Roughly chop the cucumber and seed the yellow pepper; add the 3/4 of the cucumber and pepper to processor.
Add the remaining tomatoes with juice, cucumber, yellow pepper, vinegar, oil, herbs, salt and pepper; pulsing only to combine, leaving some finely chopped vegetables.
Taste and add salt, if necessary.
Chill prior to serving.
Garnish with the diced avocado.