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COLD SUMMER TOMATO BISQUE
(from Cooking with the Seasons Cookbook)
Originally a bisque referred to a hot soup made from the liquor of shellfish in a thick cream base. Today we extend our definition of what a bisque is to include any number of ingredients that are rich in flavor. Whether using fruit or vegetables, today's bisques achieve their traditional velvety texture by balancing the amount of pulp, juice, and yogurt in a recipe. This gives a satisfying consistency without using cream.
1 small onion, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery heart, with leaves, diced
4 Tbles chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup yogurt
6 large tomatoes
Zest of 2 lemons, grated
Juice of 2 lemons
½ cup chopped celery leaves
Salt and pepper
In a food processor, puree the onion, celery stalks, and cilantro. Add the yogurt and process until mixed. Pass the mixture through a fine strainer, pressing as much pulp and juice through as possible. Discard the remaining fibers. Transfer to a bowl.
Puree the tomatoes and strain, discarding the tomato fiber. Add to the onion, celery stalks, and cilantro. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, celery leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend together until smooth. Add more yogurt, if desired, to thicken the soup. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Mix well before serving.
VARIATIONS: Cucumber dill bisque can be made the same way. Omit the tomatoes and cilantro, replacing them with 2 cucumbers and the same amount of dillweed.
Replace the celery stalks and cilantro with equal amounts of fennel and fennel week.
A half tsp of curry powder will warm the tomato bisque in the mouth, while a pinch of cayenne pepper will make it spicy.