Lacroix at the Rittenhouse, Philadelphia
In this brilliantly hued riff on gazpacho, Jon Cichon makes rosy, sweet strawberries the star. The berries serve as both the puréed base of the soup, and as garnishes on top, their sweetness tempered by cucumber, roasted red peppers, and in a nod to tradition, a tomato.
- 2 red bell peppers (or store-bought roasted red peppers)
- 2 pints organic strawberries
- 1 large ripe tomato, diced
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced
- 20 leaves basil
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 lime, juiced
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons diced tender celery and celery leaves (from the inner stalks of the celery heart)
- 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon basil leaves
- 1/4 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/4 cup croutons (store-bought or homemade)
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoonolive oil
- 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
Preheat your oven to broil. Halve the peppers and place them cut-side-down on a baking sheet. Place in a preheated oven and roast until the peppers are wrinkled and the skins are blistered and charred in spots, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool enough to handle. Peel the charred skin off and remove the stem and seeds.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and marinate overnight. Transfer the ingredients to a blender and purée until smooth. Add a splash of water if it seems thick.
Combine all the garnish ingredients, except the balsamic vinegar, in a bowl and season with salt and olive oil. Pour the soup into chilled bowls and spoon 1 tablespoon of garnish on top. Finish with a few dots of aged balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.