Gazpacho, Tomatoes on Toast, and other seasonal heroes (fit for a heat-wave!)
I’m back from a week in DC (details on that here) emotionally filled and sooo happy to be home. We’ve already settled back into a sweet mid-summer rhythm, with mornings in the garden, evening trips to the creek for kayaking and paddle boarding, or late nights in the pool— after giant scoops of ice cream.
Summer is good.
Sunday night, while swimming with my kids, I thought about the PB + J sandwiches in my backpack on the creek bank—our impromptu dinner—and what a detour that is for me. Mostly, I thought about how good it felt to let things go a little.
I fully acknowledge this comes from spending a week with my most relaxed friend—the kind that doesn’t overthink anything. The kind who understands that sometimes good is good enough. The kids will be fine (and probably, thrilled!). You might even find yourself feeling a little thrilled, too—PB + J creekside tastes darn good!
It’s a reminder that the point of summer is to have more fun, to let loose—not just at the table, but a little bit everywhere. In fact, after a week with my most fun-loving friend, there’s a lot of mantras (parenting or otherwise) I’m leaning into this week—and I’m putting them here, for all of us:
6 SUMMER MANTRAS
It’s not a big deal.
No really, it’s not a big deal—don’t make it a big deal! (applies to most things)
Get your hair wet (it dries!)
Sleep is overrated (I don’t fully subscribe to this one—except in summer)
If you’re giving up your adult agenda in pursuit of kid joy, give it up in pursuit of your own joy, too. (Take a turn on the tube, go down the water slide!)
Yes, your 11-year-old can probably safely watch your 7-year old so you can have a twinkly-lit-patio-dinner out with a friend—they will be fine. (We tried it—success!!)
Onward—tomatoes!! I mentioned in my menu recap last week (called Feeding A Crowd) a few tomato-forward dishes with links to roughly how we made them on the fly. This week I wanted to give you flushed out recipes for two of them—dishes I’ll make from here until September, on repeat—recipes you can make, even in a heat wave: Golden Tomato Gazpacho and Moroccan-Spiced Tomato Toast.
First up—gazpacho. In the past, I have written about how I was slow to come around to gazpacho, so I get it if it’s not your thing. It’s bracing and acidic, and for some the texture just isn’t appealing. But it’s also quick, easy, refreshing, make-ahead and so delicious if you get the balance just right.
To do that, I use bunches of yellow tomatoes, which are just less acidic overall—and mix in a few peaches for sweetness. My Spanish friends tell me some people swear by a bit of watermelon in their gazpacho, which would have the same effect. (Skip ahead for the recipe).
Next up, Tomatoes on Toast. In the photo (top), I also use yellow heirloom tomatoes—coincidence, mostly, except I do love the sweetness they give to almost any dish, so I grab them (alongside Green Zebra, Aunt Ruby’s German, Beefsteak, Brandywine, Kumato and a huge variety of other tomatoes) whenever I can. The recipe for this simple spice and honey treatment, which gives chopped yellow tomatoes a little je ne sais quoi (to spoon over toast, or a number of other things), is also below.
Skip even lower for links to other tomato favorites that I never tire of, including this Whipped Feta with Plum, Tomato and Avocado Salad (above), and my Tomato Slab Pie (seen here in Martha Stewart Living).
These things are brilliant for lunches, per my headline, but don’t discount how much a cool, simple dinner—soup in a jar on a creekside, or tomatoes on toast with a glass of rose by the pool—can lift you for days. It is what summer is for.
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YELLOW TOMATO AND PEACH GAZPACHO (with croutons!)
2 to 3 slices white bread, brioche or sourdough bread, cut into cubes
Extra-virgin olive oil, plus for drizzling
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 pounds ripe orange or yellow tomatoes (4 to 6)
1 medium red or yellow tomato, cored and finely diced, for serving
6 fresh basil leaves, plus for serving
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 to 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 small bell pepper (stem, ribs and seeds removed), finely diced
1/2 small red onion or 1 shallot, finely diced
1 ripe yellow or white peach, finely diced
Make the Croutons: Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Toss the bread cubes in the oil, turning with tongs or a heat-proof spatula to toast on all sides, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate to cool. (You can make these up to a day in advance; just be sure to cool completely and store in an airtight container.)
Make the gazpacho: Combine the tomatoes, basil and garlic in a large bowl; season with salt. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Chill the individual serving bowls.
Remove the basil from the chilled tomato mixture and discard. Transfer the mixture to a blender or use an immersion blender to process until frothy and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Ladle the soup into the chilled bowls and mound a bit of the cucumber, heirloom tomatoes, onion (if using), bell pepper and peaches in the center. Top with small basil leaves, chervil (if using) and the croutons. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve cold or at room temperature.
MOROCCAN-SPICED TOMATO TOAST
Reprinted with permission from Every Day is Saturday
1 cup (140 g) finely chopped red onion
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp fresh coriander seeds
4 slices thick-cut sourdough bread
Butter, for the bread
2 cups (280 g) chopped in-season tomatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
Fresh flowering or young herbs, such as cilantro, chopped
Light honey, such as wildflower, for drizzling
Soak the onion in a bowl of ice water to take out the bite, 5 to 10 minutes.
Toast the cumin and coriander in a dry skillet over high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Smash slightly on a cutting board with the bottom of your (cooled) skillet, or with the back of your knife.
Toast the bread. Spread the toast with a thin schmear of butter or drizzle of oil.
Drain the onion well. Toss the cumin and coriander, onion, tomatoes, oil, and salt together in a bowl. Stir in the herbs. Spoon over the toast and drizzle very lightly with a bit of honey.
FIVE MORE TOMATO-FORWARD FAVORITES
One Pan Bruschetta Spaghetti (paywall)
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Photos for this post by Nico Shinco, Gentl + Hyers, Sarah Copeland and Thuss + Farrell. Styling by Sarah Copeland.
That gazpacho looks wonderful! It’s definitely on my list for the upcoming heat wave! Thanks for so many great ideas Sarah. Enjoy these summer days even with yummy PB&J’s. It’s all great when we can eat outside! 😎