No matter your stance or beliefs on the causes of global warming, there is clear scientific evidence the planet is getting hotter. And even if you’re a holdout (which at this point just seems stubborn and silly) and insist that global warming is a myth, you’re not going to want to fire up your oven or stove this week. The heat index in New York City will reach 110° Fahrenheit today. If that’s not enough evidence of planetary temperature uptick, then, well, God help you.
The plus side to this kind of heat is the effect it has on my mid-summer garden. The tomatoes love it. They have started to ripen quickly from the excess sun and are ready to be devoured along with the peaches that hang heavy on the tree. If tomato-peach is a combination that raises your eyebrows, then just remember the old mantra: If it grows together, it goes together.
When the fruits of the garden are at their peak, there’s no need to manipulate them too much. A perfectly ripe tomato or peach is a feat no chef can improve upon. Cold summer soups are one of the greatest culinary tricks for “cooking” such perfect produce. They are the simplest meal to make, requiring only a blender, and pop with unexpected flavor. Have fun whizzing up your own concoctions like cucumber and zucchini or radish and buttermilk, or this little number I like to call Greenspacho.
Or brave the heat and get to your garden or farmers market to pick (or pick up) some tomatoes and peaches. The sweet of the peach and the tang of the tomato are a perfect balancing act and are not only delicious, but also keep you away from the stove.
Serves 6 as a first course
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 pounds ripe peaches, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup chopped white onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Fine sea salt freshly ground black pepper
Tiny basil leaves for garnish
Toss 1/2 cup of the tomato and 1/2 cup of the peach in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the onion, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Puree the remaining tomato, peach, in a blender with the cumin, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper until it is very smooth, then chill the soup until it’s cold.
Serve the soup with the chopped tomato mixture and tiny basil leaves.