By Chef Laura Frankel
I love the idea of a brightly colored, chilled and refreshing soup for the holidays this year. There is plenty of cool weather coming during which I can eat heartier hot soups, but rarely do you get to show off gorgeous produce in holiday china.
The color of this soup, alone, will kick the meal off to a great start. Details count on the soup, so go crazy with garnishes and seek out the best tasting produce you can find.
3 medium red beets
2 pounds favorite heirloom tomatoes, diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
2 medium shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
3 cups of tomato juice (preferably from fresh tomatoes)
Kosher salt and pepper
Garnishes: diced heirloom tomatoes (lots of colors here!), beet slices*- thinly sliced on a mandolin, fresh herbs, sliced cucumber, micro diced green and yellow beans**, extra virgin olive oil, edible flowers, diced figs, diced watermelon, pomegranate arils/seeds (if you can find them!)
Preheat oven to 350
Drizzle olive oil on the beets and wrap them individually in foil and roast for about 1 hour, until tender or until a paring knife can easily pierce them. When cool enough to handle, peel the beets. (the beets can be roasted up to 3 days ahead of serving).
Puree the ingredients for the soup, in batches in a blender or food processor, until smooth and no lumps remain. Chill the soup. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper
To serve the soup, portion the soup into shallow bowls or gorgeous glasses. Garnish with as many fresh items as you can find. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
The soup can be made up to 3 days ahead of serving.
*To slice the beets for garnishes, position the blade on your mandolin to the thinnest setting. Peel the beets (I am using golden and candy stripe beets), holding the beets with a towel to prevent cuts, slice a cross section as thin as possible to produce a beet chip. Store the beet chips in ice-cold water in the refrigerator. The beet chips can be cut 1 day ahead of serving, with each color being stored separately.
**To micro-dice the beans, gather the beans together in a tight bundle (about 6 beans) and cut tiny cross sections. The beans can be gently blanched and shocked or if they are really sweet and delicious, cut them raw!
Recipe, kosher, soup, parve