In late summer, when tomatoes are at their ripest, I crave sliced mozzarella and heirlooms sprinkled with a good helping of sea salt and olive oil – not cold soup with raw veggies. Then I tried a gazpacho by Dani Garcia, the chef at Restaurant Calima off the southern coast of Spain. His gazpacho was simple — a sweet puree of cherry tomatoes studded with pistachios and anchovies, and topped with a mound of cheese snow. The below recipe makes an effort to recreate his dish, but instead of making snow with liquid nitrogen, I use an old standby — scraping ice, granita-style.
¼ cup feta or goat cheese
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup crust-free, fresh diced bread
½ cup water
2 cloves garlic, peeled
½ serrano chili, seeds included
2½ pounds tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large pinch cumin
6 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup finely chopped, seed-free cucumbers
1/3 cup pistachios, toasted
2 anchovy fillets, very finely chopped (optional)
4 basil leaves, thinly sliced
1. Using a fork, break up the feta or goat cheese in a small metal bowl. Add the milk and whip to smooth. Season with a pinch of salt. Set in the freezer until frozen solid.
2. Soak the bread in the water. Squeeze out and discard the water.
3. Seed and finely chopped enough tomatoes to fill a 1/2 cup measure. Season with salt and set aside.
4. Using a food processor, chop the garlic and chili with a large pinch of salt. Add the bread, remaining tomatoes, the vinegar, sugar and cumin, and process until soupy. With the motor running, pour in 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Push the soup through a sieve. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Season the cucumber with salt and stir them and the reserved diced tomatoes into the smooth soup.
6. When ready to serve, scrape the frozen cheese mixture with the tines of a fork to make cheese snow. Ladle the soup into four bowls. Top with some toasted pistachios, anchovies (if using), basil, a drizzle of the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and some cheese snow. Serves 4. Recipe loosely adapted from a dish by Dani Garcia, the chef at Restaurant Calima in Marbella, Spain. –Jill Santopietro for The Boston Globe.