From chef Andrew Winfield, River Café
Check the farmers’ markets for lovage – an herb that tastes like celery – but if you can’t find it, use celery leaves.
5 lbs. heirloom tomatoes
splash of extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, white only, chopped
1/4 large yellow onion, chopped
1 T. minced garlic
2 T. minced ginger
1 t. crushed dried chiles, or less, if you prefer less heat
1/2 c. dry white wine
1/4 c. lovage, chopped
8 c. vegetable stock
Sachet ingredients – tied up in a piece of cheesecloth:
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
10 juniper berries
2 each sprigs of thyme and oregano
reserved tomato skins
In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with a splash of olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Grill over high heat on the barbecue until the skins blister and crack. Remove from the heat and peel, reserving the skins. Chop the tomatoes roughly and reserve.
In a large pot, heat the 1 T. olive oil and sweat the leeks, onion, garlic, ginger and chiles slowly until the vegetables are tender. Add the wine and reduce slightly. Add the lovage, stock and chopped tomatoes. Add the sachet of herbs and spices and simmer the soup for 20 – 30 minutes.
Ladle warm soup into bowls, top with a tablespoon of cucumber relish (recipe follows) and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Serves 8-10.
I like to slice the cucumbers very thin and marinate them with vinegar. It reminds me of how my grandmother served cucumbers on a hot summer evening.
1 large cucumber
1 t. puréed or finely minced garlic
1 oz. (2 T.) champagne vinegar
1/2 t. seeded and minced chipotle chile
Peel and finely slice the cucumber on a mandoline or with a knife. Toss with the remaining ingredients and season with salt.