2 1/4poundsripe red tomatoes, stem bit removed and cut into large chunks (1 kg) (5-6 cups)
2medium garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
2tablespoonsfinely chopped shallot
1 1/4teaspoonsfine sea salt
1/4 - 1/2a jalapeño, seeded and minced, or a pinch of cayenne (optional, if you like a bit of heat),
2tablespoonsbalsamic vinegar, plus more for drizzling(30 ml)
1tablespoonflavorful olive oil, plus more for drizzling(15 ml)
1 1/2teaspoonsred wine vinegar(9 ml)
2cupscherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved (or quartered if large)(275 g)
3/4cupfinely diced cucumber(90 g)
a large handful basil leaves, finely chopped plus more for garnish(~1/4 cup)
a good grating fresh black pepper
2containers fresh small mozzarella balls (ciliegine), drained and halved or quartered(8-ounce / 225 g)
1large avocado, chilled, peeled, pitted and cubed
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tomatoes, garlic, shallot, jalapeño and salt (you may need to blend this in batches depending on the size of your food processor). Puree smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh (though not super-fine, as that will take forever) sieve set over a large bowl. Use a flexible silicone spatula to work the liquid through, pressing on the solids to extract as much of the good stuff as you can. You should have about 4 cups of liquid. Discard the pulp.
Add the ice cubes to the tomato juice; they will help chill it down quickly and loosen the mixture a bit which you will want once you add all the goodies. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sliced cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, chopped basil leaves and black pepper. Stir until the ice is melted and the soup is cold. Taste, adding more salt or vinegar if you feel the soup needs it. The flavors will continue to emerge as the soup sits. Serve now, or chill for up to 2 days.
When ready to serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the mozzarella balls, avocado, and a drizzle of olive oil, and a few torn basil leaves.
Exact quantities will vary based on how sweet/acidic/juicy your tomatoes are, so don't be afraid to tweak things to your liking as you go. Do use the ripest, juiciest tomatoes you can find; heirlooms, beefsteaks, early girls, or dry farmed tomatoes are all good options. Look for specimens that feel heavy for their size and are uniform in color.Nutritional values are based on one of four servings.