Tomato is a childhood soup. Perfectly smooth, gently warmed, it spreads across the shallow soup plate, a placid orange lake dotted with oyster-cracker buoys. Poured from the thermos or served alongside grilled-cheese triangles, cream of tomato sees the child through school day, sick day or Saturday.
Gazpacho might be tomato soup, but its outlook is thoroughly adult. Gazpacho is cold. It's raw. It's chunky. Nothing school day, sick day or slow day about it.
These days the soup often comes studded with cilantro, avocado and other knowing sorts. It brings to mind the swank patio party. Maxi dress. And bad behavior.
It might even show up spiked with vodka or — in that Almodovar movie — sleeping pills. When hometown Kevin Klein and worldly Sissy Spacek hook up in "Violets Are Blue," they first slurp soup. Gazpacho.
It's summer. Go ahead and swirl a batch. You probably won't end up under the pier, drugging the cops or slaying a lion. But it's a seductively sly soup, so you never know.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Chill: 1 hour
Serves: 6 – 8
2 ½ pounds (about 4 pint containers) small tomatoes, such as cherry or grape
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 scallions, coarsely chopped
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Home on the Range