“Hot days – cold soups”: the magic formula on those sultry summer days when the air is heavy with heat and seems to stand still in the garden. It’s the time when the sun-kissed tomatoes hang red on the vine. “I only buy them in summer,” says Lifestyle by V-ZUG chef Stefan Meier. For they only develop their full flavour in season. “Then they are glorious to behold: zebra tomatoes, the little cherry tomatoes in all variations…”. Or the oxheart tomato, a beef tomato with deep grooves and misshapen look. But the appearance has never determined the taste of a tomato. “As children we picked the tomatoes fresh from the vine, as they became ripe. Sometimes there was a groove or a flaw in the skin.” That’s no reason to despise a tomato – it is even worth specifically asking the farmer for tomatoes with visual blemishes – they are ideal for use in a sugo that you can cook and preserve for later consumption.
Stefan Meier’s culinary contemplations of the tomato wander to his favourite summer dish: “A cold tomato soup!” escapes from deep within him like a shout of joy. Immediately he thinks of the Berner Rose, an aromatic and sweet-tasting tomato variety. With its fleshy but soft structure, it is ideal for conjuring up a quick soup. “It melts on your tongue like butter once you’ve puréed it.” And yet butter is something you’ll never find in his cold soup.
He grabs 10 beautiful tomatoes of the Berner Rose variety, pops them in the steamer for 30 seconds before skinning and dicing them. After removing a little of the juice, he combines everything with a little garlic in a frying pan and lets it simmer for 20 minutes. A creamy texture is assured by the addition of 300ml of full cream, before everything is nicely puréed with 100ml of olive oil, creating a beautifully smooth soup. And because the soup should be really refreshing, cool it thoroughly before serving. “A mozzarella goes really well with that,” Meier’s taste buds signal, “and fresh basil, very finely chopped!” The soup is served with a spoon and a knife, so that everything is easy to eat. “Then it tastes a little like you’re scooping spoonfuls of summer.”