This is actually two delicately flavored soups: one red, the other yellow. If you leave in some of the tomato pulp, you can pour the two into the same cocktail glass or bowl to create a two-tone effect. If you remove most or all of the pulp, the two tend to mingle into one rose-colored soup. Be flexible; both versions are good.
The soup makes use of chili water, which is common in Hawaiian cooking. You'll have a lot left over; use it to season any food that would benefit from a hit of heat.
Make Ahead: The chili water must be made at least an hour in advance so that it is chilled when you use it. It can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 weeks. The tomatoes can be grilled a day in advance and refrigerated. The soups need to be chilled before serving.
Servings: 6 cups
- For the chili water
- 1 1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons peeled, minced ginger root
- 1/2 Scotch bonnet chili pepper, stemmed and seeded
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- For the soups
- About 3 large or 4 to 5 medium yellow tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds), cut in half crosswise
- About 3 large or 4 to 5 medium red tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds), cut in half crosswise
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chili water (see above), or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the chili water: Bring 1 1/4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, chili pepper, salt, the remaining 1/3 cup of water and the vinegar in a blender and puree until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mixture to the boiling water in the saucepan and return to a boil, then remove from the heat. Transfer to an airtight container and allow the chili water to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
For the soup: Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal; when the coals are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 4 or 5 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames.
When the fire is ready, set the tomatoes on the grill for about 3 minutes. When they are charred, turn them over and grill for about 3 minutes.
Coarsely chop the yellow and red tomatoes, keeping the colors separate.
Combine the yellow tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the chili water, 1 teaspoon of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a blender. Puree for about 2 minutes, until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Repeat the procedure with the red tomatoes, adding the remaining oil, chili water, garlic and salt.
For a silky texture, strain the two soups through fine-mesh strainers into separate bowls or measuring cups, pressing gently on the solids in the strainers to extract all of the liquid. Reserve the solids.
To serve, pour each of the soups simultaneously into a cocktail (martini) glass so that half is yellow and half is red. If the liquids are thin, they might blend together; if so, the soup will have a rose color and will taste wonderfully of the two tomato types. If you want a better chance at the two-tone presentation, return about half of the solids/pulp from the strainer to the respective soups. (The added heft makes it easier to keep the two soups separate.)
Adapted from a recipe by chef Alan Wong in the February 2000 issue of Gourmet magazine.
Tested by Jeffrey Donald.
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