Serves 3 to 4
This cool refreshing soup improves for a couple of days, so don’t be intimidated by the quantity. It won’t go to waste, I promise. If you want to make it now but do not have za’atar (see Note below), don’t worry. The soup is delicious without the final flourish the Middle Eastern spice mixture contributes.
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, halved and seeded
- Kosher salt
- 3 cups Bellwether Farms Plain Sheep Milk Yogurt
- 1 serrano, minced
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and minced
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoons medium acid red wine vinegar, such as B. R. Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Vinegar
- Black pepper in a mill
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
- Best-quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons za’atar (see Note below)
Set a strainer over a large deep bowl.
Use a very sharp knife to mince the tomatoes, scooping up the pulp and the juice frequently and transferring it to the strainer. Continue until all of the tomatoes have been minced.
Stir 2 teaspoons of salt into the draining tomatoes and let rest several minutes.
Put the yogurt into a large soup bowl and add the serranos, cucumbers, lemon juice and vinegar.
Stir in the drained tomato pulp. (Reserve the drained juice.)
Taste and season generously with salt, tasting after each addition. When the flavors blossom, you have added enough salt. Season with black pepper and stir in the cilantro.
If the soup seems a bit too thick, stir in some of the reserved juice.
Chill thoroughly, for at least two hours and as long as overnight.
To serve, ladle the soup into chilled soup plates. Drizzle each portion with a little olive oil and sprinkle za’atar on top. Serve immediately.
Note: Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mixture, a combination of of sumac, toasted and lightly crushed sesame seeds, dried thyme and salt. Some versions are include hyssop. The sumac contributes both a deep red color and a lemony tang. It is available on line at such locations as www.thespicehouse.com.