Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Scape Gazpacho

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I finally made it to the Wicker Park farmer’s market this past Sunday. It’s a small market just a few blocks from our house, but they have all the necessities – a couple produce vendors with a nice variety of fruits and veggies, a couple meat vendors, baked goods, one Wisconsin cheese stand, and a couple flower vendors.

Farmers Market

I woke up to thunderous storms, so as soon as the rain let up, I made my way down there. It was a muggy, gloomy morning, but that meant there weren’t many people in the park, which made for a pleasant market experience. The first stand I came across had rows upon rows of heirloom tomatoes. I couldn’t pass them up. Then I saw the garlic – everything from the scape to the bulb. I knew the combination of the heirloom tomatoes and garlic scapes would be perfect is a fresh, summery chilled soup.

Picnik collage
Picnik collage

Oh my it was good. So so good. Those tomatoes – wow – and with a mild bite from the garlic scapes, I really feel I outdid myself here. I also found baby fennel, which I roasted and threw into the mix. Just perfect for that hot summer day.

Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Scape Gazpacho
The proportions here are small – I started small and did a couple different varieties (some with no cumin, some with more jalapeno, etc., so below is just the basic recipe I started with.)

3-4 heirloom tomatoes of any or all varieties
3-4 garlic scapes
1 clove raw garlic (my garlic was still very young, so it wasn’t as sharp; if you have mature garlic, you might want to halve this)
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1/2 cucumber, unpeeled
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 jalapeno, seeded

1 bulb baby fennel, roasted in 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, reserve a few sprigs of the greens and 1 raw layer
a few slices whole grain bread, cut in to cubes
1/2 carrot, julienned
1 avocado
olive oil
juice of one lemon
splash of red wine vinegar
salt & pepper

Prepare croutons with the bread cubes by layering in a single layer on a baking sheet and toasting them in the oven.

Take one layer of the raw baby fennel, a sprig or two of fennel greens, the unpeeled cucumber, a couple of the garlic scapes, and carrots – finely chop them or julienne them and combine to form a crisp salad. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and set aside.

In a blender, combine the tomatoes, peeled cucumber, roasted fennel, garlic scapes, raw garlic clove, cumin, jalapeno, salt, pepper, and red wine vinegar. Drizzle some olive oil in the mixture and blend into a smooth puree. Taste to see if it needs more vinegar, oil, or seasoning. Adjust as necessary.

Serve with the salad, some slices of avocado, and croutons on top. The soup will be thin and soupy, while the salad provides a nice crisp texture.

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