In Napa Valley, when the summer temperatures start to soar, they head for the garden — and the blender.
At Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford, chef Brian Streeter makes this ruby-red, high-season watermelon and tomato gazpacho. The cold soup contains up to three cups of watermelon, but it’s a pound and a half of juicy tomatoes that make up the base. To those ingredients, Streeter adds cucumber, bell pepper, fennel, red onion and a splash of sherry vinegar and olive oil.
You can learn how to make the gazpacho, along with other high-season tomato dishes, including Cedar Plank Salmon with Roasted Tomato Butter, during a cooking class offered from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm on August 12 or 13 at Cakebread’s Winery House Kitchen. The class costs $275 per person and includes a three-course lunch. Sign up at https://cakebread.com.
Makes 8 servings
1½ pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
2 to 3 cups watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
½ large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
½ fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
¼ small red onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or to taste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons finely chopped watermelon for garnish
In batches, puree the tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, bell pepper, fennel, onion, olive oil, vinegar, and enough ice water to get a soup-like consistency (about 1 cup). Season with salt, taste and add more vinegar if necessary. Cool thoroughly.
Divide the soup among eight cold bowls. Garnish each serving with a spoonful of diced watermelon. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.
— Chef Brian Streeter, Cakebread Cellars