Chilled Tomato Soup with Gazpacho Garnish and Brandade of Smoked Haddock

Ingredients

  • 500 g (1 lb) undyed smoked haddock fillet
  • 200 mls (7 oz) milk
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, peeled and blanched
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, hot
  • freshly ground black or white pepper
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 each medium-size red, yellow and green pepper
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) very ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • fresh basil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chervil, dill or basil – for garnish

Method

Put the fish and milk in a saute pan, and poach until the fish is just done – 3 to 4 minutes will be sufficient, not much more.

Remove the fish and when cool enough to handle, discard the skin and any bones, and put the fish and garlic in the food processor. Process until the fish is quite broken up.

Gradually add the hot olive oil and enough of the milk to make a paste – of spreading, rather than liquid, consistency. Season with pepper. Scrape into a container, and once cool, refrigerate until required.

Discard the seeds of the cucumber. Peel it, slice length-ways, cut into thin strips and then tiny dice. With a potato peeler, peel the thin skin from the peppers as far as you can. Very firm, smooth, taut peppers can be peeled raw with a swivel peeler. You will probably not manage the top and bottom, which can be chopped off and used in another dish such as piperade, perhaps. Halve the peppers, remove the seeds, and cut into tiny dice. If pepper skin does not bother you, then do not bother to peel them first.

To prepare the tomatoes, put them in a blender or food processor with more oil, the vinegar, basil and seasoning, and blend until smooth. Sieve into a jug.

To assemble the dish, stir the tomato soup, and pour into soup plates. Spoon a flattened mound of vegetables in the middle, and place a quenelle of smoked haddock on top. Decorate with some fresh herbs, and serve immediately.

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