In a recent visit to Marseille, I dined at the 1.13 Bar Lounge at the Hotel Mercure Centre Vieux Port, where I tasted the summery flavours of the Provençe region and the Mediterranean Sea. One such dish is the Gaspacho Soupe Froide de Tomates de Provence served with a tartine slathered with fresh chèvre. To celebrate the last days of summer, here’s the recipe for this delicious cold tomato soup.
Time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour to chill
4 stemware glasses
1 / 2 cup light French olive oil
Baguette slices for toasting and to be placed above the cold soup
4 cups coarsely sliced fresh red plum tomatoes
1 / 2 cup minced shallots
2 or 3 garlic cloves minced to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons peeled courgette (zucchini) diced very finely
3 tablespoons fresh taragon herb minced finely
French goat cheese – room temperature for spreading of choice
1. Firstly, combine the extra virgin olive oil and the tarragon in a large bowl.
2. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Slice the baguette, and brush some Evoo on both sides of the bread.
4. Toast the bread in a large sauté pan over a low to medium flame until crispy, approximately 4 minutes for each side.
5. Place the toasted bread slices on a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
6. Now, heat 1 /4 cup Evoo in a clean sauté pan over a low to medium heat and add 4 cups of coarsely chopped fresh red tomatoes.
7. Add the shallots and the diced peeled courgette and sauté until the vegetables are just tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.
8. Stir in a little tomato paste or a tiny boiled peeled potato for thickening and reduce the heat to low.
9. Cover the sauté pan and simmer until the tomatoes, courgette cubes and shallots are tender, stirring occasionally about 8 to 9 minutes.
10. Now, strain the soup, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract all the juice and solids.
11. Throw away the solids left over in the sieve.
12. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
13. Place the gaspacho into a large bowl in the refrigerator until cold, approximately 1 hour.
14. Ladle the cold gaspacho into large wine glasses, making sure, that there are no stains on the stemware.
15. Top each glass with a canapé of spreadable goat cheese and sprinkle each gaspacho with a bit of fresh chopped tarragon.
We concluded our dinner at the Mercure with a slate board of 5 Provençal local cheeses from a farm called Maison Bedau– just 40 minutes away. The tomato gaspacho: 6 euros. The assorted cheese board: 9 euros. The wines are 6-7 euros per glass.