Chilled Tomato Vodka Soup with Pesto Cream

There’s something so southern and sultry about spicy tomato paired with vodka. I want to take a bath in the stuff. In a claw foot tub on a lazy porch under a tree draped in Spanish moss. This chilled soup is perfect for the steamy weather we’ve been having here in Maine. Now, you’re not obligated to make the accompanying pesto cream, but you really ought to. It’s such a lovely complement to the acidic broth and also great on crackers. I bought a small carton of tasty-ugly tomatoes from Beth’s. They’re the very best thing about August.

Chilled Tomato Vodka Soup with Pesto Cream

Ingredients:

For the Soup:

  • 8 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 banana pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 scallions, ends trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • Kosher salt, black pepper, cumin
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vodka

For the Pesto Cream:

  • 1 cup packed arugula leaves
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Method:

For the Soup:

Submerge tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water for one minute. Remove to bowl of ice water. Peel, seed, and roughly chop tomatoes. In a large skillet saute pepper, garlic, scallion, and celery in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin and cook on medium for 15-20 minutes. Transfer vegetables to the (drained) tomato pot, add fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, and vodka. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a slow simmer for 10 minutes. Use an immersion blender right in the pot or work in batches in a jar blender. Allow the soup to chill in the refrigerator for at least six hours before serving with a dollop of pesto cream.

For the Pesto Cream:

Whiz all ingredients in a food processor until blended smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

 

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road. She creates content on the internet, on subjects ranging from summer camps to semi-precious stones to the folklore of food. With Malcolm, Jillian was one of the original "Insiders," for the Visit Maine tourism campaign. She loves telling the stories of her adopted state, finding out-of-the-way places, and people making interesting things. Watching her daughters play in the wild woods and fields of Cushing makes her very happy.

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