ADD salt (about 2 teaspoons), pepper, olive oil and vinegar. Don't be bashful with the seasoning, especially the vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
STIR everything vigorously for 30 seconds or so. Stirring is important because it will bruise the tomatoes and make the whole thing juicier.
THROW in the ice cubes, which will both cool the mixture down quicker and edge you toward that ideal spot on the salad-soup spectrum.
PUt the bowl in the fridge for at least an hour to chill.
To make croutons (optional):
PEEL and smash the garlic.
ROUGHLY tear the bread into crouton-size chunks.
HEAT the oil in a wide skillet over medium heat, then add the garlic and cook until golden, but not brown.
REMOVE the garlic and add the bread to the pan. Toss to coat the bread in oil. Continue to cook over medium heat until the bread gets a little toasty and brownish on both sides.
REMOVE from heat and season with salt and pepper.
MAKE sure the soup is refrigerator cold before you serve it. It should chill for at least an hour, but a couple hours is probably ideal and a few days won't hurt.
SERVE in chilled bowls, topped with croutons and a drizzle of olive oil.
Fish with Tomatoes, Corn and Peppers
Makes 4 servings.
4 ripe tomatoes
3 sweet peppers
3 ears of corn
1 handful basil, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus some for cooking
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 to 1 1/2 pounds firm fleshed white fish. Haddock, cod, snapper and perch are all available right now. Pick what looks good.
1 knob of butter
COARSELY chop the tomatoes and put them in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt.
ROAST the peppers. If you have a gas stove, put the peppers directly on the flame and cook, turning with tongs as needed, until they are charred (totally black) on all sides. If you have an electric stove, put the peppers under the broiler, turning occasionally until they're charred and soft.
PUT the peppers in a separate bowl and cover it for about 10 minutes, allowing them to cook with their own residual heat. After 10 minutes, peel the charred skins off the peppers discarding the skins, stems and seeds.
CHOP the peppers and add them to the tomatoes.
CUT the kernels off the corn. Heat a heavy skillet until hot, then add just a slick of oil and the corn kernels. Cook the corn for a couple minutes, tossing occasionally until the kernels get just a little color.
ADD them to the tomatoes and the peppers.
ADD the basil, season with salt, pepper, oil and vinegar. Stir, and let the flavors swap while you cook the fish.
CUT the fish into four pieces and season it with salt on both sides and pepper just on the bottom. (You can put pepper on both sides, but if you're going for pretty presentation, it kind of looks like little flecks of dirt. Salt is the more important seasoning anyway.)
HEAT a skillet big enough to hold all the fish without touching. When it's hot, add a little oil and the fish.
COOK for about two minutes, then use a thin bladed spatula to turn the fish.
ADD a healthy knob of butter to the pan, it will melt, foam, subside and begin to brown.
BASTE the fish with a spoon, when the foam subsides, with the browning butter. Tilt the pan toward you with one hand, so the butter pools at the bottom, as you baste with the other. The fish will continue to cook because the pan is still hot and so is the butter. Baste continually until the fish is just cooked through. Total cooking time shouldn't be more than four minutes or so.
TO serve, divide the vegetable odds and ends between four plates and top each one with a piece of fish.
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.