To get the most out of a late-summer tomato—“heavy for its size and in no hurry to release its juices”—take a tip from Gerard Pangaud, said Bonnie Benwick in The Washington Post. At his eponymous, D.C.-area bistro, the French chef showcases the sweetness of tomatoes. “It’s a fruit,” Pangaud points out—one he features in such surprising dishes as cold strawberry soup and a confit tomato with caramelized apples, pears, and apricots.
For the most part, his gazpacho “stays true to a classic Spanish preparation, with sherry vinegar and chunks of bread.” Adding fresh pineapple and a skewer of seared watermelon cubes, however, makes it fit to serve as either a starter or a dessert.
Recipe of the week
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Tomato Gazpacho With Watermelon Skewer, Goat Cheese, and Tomato Toast
Marinate vegetables and bread overnight to add flavor.
1 lb ripe tomatoes, preferably Brandywine, hulled and cut into chunks
½ medium green bell pepper, cut into several pieces
½ medium red bell pepper, cut into several pieces
¼ cup fresh pineapple chunks
½ seedless (English) cucumber, peeled and cut into small pieces
½ medium onion, preferably sweet
1 thick slice (2 oz) country white or ciabatta bread (crust removed), torn into pieces
1 tsp sherry vinegar
6 drops hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, plus more to taste
French sea salt
8 oz seedless watermelon, cut into ¾-inch cubes (at least 16 cubes)
4 small slices ciabatta bread
2 oz goat cheese, room temperature
2–4 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Basil or rosemary leaves
For soup, combine tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, pineapple, onion, bread, vinegar, and 6 drops of hot pepper sauce in nonreactive mixing bowl. Drizzle generously with olive oil and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Transfer to food processor. Pulse to create coarsely textured soup. Transfer to bowl and season with salt and hot pepper sauce to taste. Cover and refrigerate.
For skewers, have 4 midsize bamboo skewers at hand, or trim longer ones to about 5 inches. Heat teaspoon or two of oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is quite hot, add watermelon cubes and quickly sear on at least 2 sides. Transfer to plate. When cool enough, thread onto skewers.
For toast, toast bread, spread goat cheese over each, and garnish with cherry tomatoes and herbs. To serve, divide into 4 large wineglasses. Set on small plates. Place skewer on top of each, and place on garnished plate with toast. Serve immediately.
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