Gazpacho is such a great soup that some people just can´t hold themselves in and wait for tomatoes to be good. The minute the thermometer flirts with 30ºC they´re off, and the resulting gazpachos can be a little bit boring and somewhat pale.
This is a version I was taught last week by Isabela Muro. Throwing strawberries in with tomatoes and olive oil into a blender may seem a little bit wacky, but it works very well. The strawberries give it sweetness and colour, and the whole thing is fruity and light and satisfying. The normal gazpacho is much much better, but this makes for a fun little change, and good sense if you must have gazpacho right now.
All you do is mix 1 kg. strawberries, 1 kg. tomatoes, 300 ml. olive oil, 4 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 garlic clove (seedling out and blanched beforehand). Blitz it in a stong blender, strain it with a chinoise and you´re good to go.
with sugar and yogurt
with chunks of pineapple
with whipped cream and meringues
crushed with whipped cream and sandwiched between two sponge cakes
with pancakes and caramelized apples
doubtless we´ll think up a few more before cherries begin to claim all the love.
It works! It really does. Yesterday´s pancake batter looked a bit dodgy in its plastic container, a bit more alive than yesterday, but the minute it hit the pan it made fluffy, perfect pancakes just the same.
I had two plates of pancakes with caramelized pear and a pot of tea ready in less time than it took J to change Pía and install her in a highchair. Mind you, he´s not fast, and has some issues with the straps in the highchair, but still, this was a lightning fast operation, and possibly the only way to make Mr.No-Breakfast go out into the world with a full stomach in the morming. Now I know.
Tomorrow is the opening of my show, and I am in that marvelous state where I am either staring blankly at the wall or snapping at whoever has the misfortune to speak to me. I can´t eat, or I am ravenous. I feel there are a million things I must do, but can´t think of any. Very much like pre-wedding nerves, except on that day I knew what I was going to wear, and had only to make sure I fit into it.
Since I have no idea what I will be looking like tomorrow, I have instead cooked myself a beautiful, decadent breakfast: pancakes with sauteed pears.
I´d never made pancakes for one, because one egg makes too much batter, and if I make the whole batch intending to freeze some it´s more than likely that I will eat all the pancakes anyway. But Marion Cunningham says you can keep batter in the fridge, and if that is true, well then, we´re home free.
I made three panckaes from this batter and sauteed a pear in butter and brown sugar in another pan, and it all took fifteen minutes, including one phone call to J to apologize for having snapped before, and another to my mother to schedule Pía´s morning.
Why don´t we make pancakes every morning?
One of my rules is: no tomatoes between October and June. There are enough dissappointments going around to add mushy, mealy, pale, tastless toms to the list.
And yet. Sometimes, I really, really want a tomato. Or big bags of them are on sale, and, well, I´m not made of iron. The rule that ammends the broken rule is: cook them. Slow roasting makes up for their sins pretty well, but it takes forever. My new favourite thing is to achieve a similar result within minutes.
All you need is a handful of those accomodating little things, cherry tomatoes, and a bit of balsamic vinegar.
Sauteeing the cherries at high heat brings out all the things you want in a tomato: juiciness, flavour, tartness, sweetness. A drizzle of vinegar at the end makes them caramelize, or look caramelized, dark and long cooked. And it all happens while you get a sandwich ready!
Over the past week I´ve used these in a salad with fresh mozzarella and anchovies, as a side vegetable, and as a garnish to perk up a bland sqash soup from a carton.