Thursday, August 28, 2014

Greek Salad as Tomato Soup

Greek Salad as Tomato Soup

It's official. Momofuku is coming to D.C.! Finally, David Chang, who is from Northern Virginia after all, will make the nation's capital part of his food kingdom that includes a collection of notable restaurants in New York (Ko, Má Pêche, Ssäm Bar, Noodle Bar, Milk Bar--home of the famed Corn Cookie) and a few other cities (Toronto, Sydney), plus the Book & Dax cocktail bar and the totally hip food magazine, Lucky Peach.

I'm celebrating the impending arrival of Chang's cuisine by making this recipe that appeared recently in Food & Wine. If you're in the habit of making gazpacho around now when fresh tomatoes are at their peak, this alternative cold tomato soup might be a welcome way of changing up your cold-tomato-soup routine. Chang's idea was to reinvent Greek Salad as tomato soup. All the elements are there: cucumbers, onion, olives, feta cheese and, of course, tomatoes.

The soup is wonderfully colorful. Because the fresh tomatoes are pureed in a blender, they get a bit frothy and pink. I used sungold cherry tomatoes, adding a little yellow-orange to the color palette. I made a few small changes: instead of garnishing the soup with baby greens, I used a few small basil leaves. I also didn't have sherry vinegar on hand so I used white balsamic vinegar. And, for kicks, I used white pepper instead of black.

Greek Salad as Tomato Soup
Adapted from Tomato Soup with Feta, Olives and Cucumbers by David Chang for Food & Wine

6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup pitted Niçoise or mixed olives
2 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar (this was a substitution for the sherry vinegar the original recipe called for)
Kosher salt, to taste
1 small cucumber (such as kirby), thinly sliced
1 tbsp. honey
5 ripe red tomatoes, chopped
Freshly ground white pepper
4 oz. sungold cherry tomatoes, halved
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Handful of small basil leaves

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, olives and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 7-9 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in both vinegars, season with salt, and allow to cool to room temperature (this step may be done ahead).

2. In a small bowl, toss the cucumber with 1/2 tbsp. of the honey and season with salt.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes, 1/2 tbsp. honey, 2 pinches of salt (or more/less to taste) and freshly ground white pepper to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the soup into shallow bowls. Top with the onion-olive mixture, halved cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, feta and basil leaves.

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