35 mins (plus 1 hour chill time)
A classic Vietnamese dipping sauce, nuoc cham is equal parts savory, sour, spicy, and sweet thanks to a mix of fish sauce, lime juice, fresh chiles, and sugar. Here you’ll blend those same flavors into a cold gazpacho base, playing up the natural sweetness of ripe heirloom tomatoes. To help emulsify the mixture, sesame oil stands in for the traditional olive oil, providing nutty balance and helping to curb the heat.
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Remove dark green parts from 3 scallions and thinly slice; set aside. Coarsely chop white and pale green parts. Cut a few thin slices off 1 medium red Fresno chile and set slices aside for serving.
Toss white and pale green parts of scallions, 2 lb. heirloom tomatoes, coarsely chopped, ½ large English hothouse cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, coarsely chopped, 1 garlic clove, finely grated, ¼ cup fresh lime juice, 2 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt, and 1 tsp. sugar in a medium bowl to combine. Let sit 30 minutes for tomatoes and cucumber to release some of their liquid.
Transfer tomato mixture to a blender and add 3 Tbsp. fish sauce, 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, and remaining 1 or 2 medium red Fresno chiles (depending on your heat preference). Blend until smooth, then strain through a mesh sieve into an airtight container. Cover and chill until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
To serve, ladle gazpacho among bowls. Top with sesame seeds and reserved dark green scallion parts and chile slices; lightly drizzle with oil.
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Love this, it’s delish.
Light, refreshing, and summery - I like the Vietnamese twist on gazpacho as a nice change of pace. (This is my fourth different chilled tomato soup of the summer as I scramble to keep up with the bounty from my tomato plants.) The sliced chiles are a nice bright note, and the drizzle of sesame oil is subtle and intriguing.
For András, I'm in the process of making this recipe right now, and it occurs to me that the 1/2 hour releasing of the liquids may have to do with letting the garlic and scallions mellow in the lime juice...
Tinton Falls, NJ
It was great, but I don't understand why we release the liquids if we use all in the soup (so doesn't discard). What is the purpose of this step, what's more happening in that phase, then just getting it out?
This was excellent, I garnished it with blue cheese & ricotta stuffed squash blossoms.