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Roasted Plum Tomato Gazpacho with Lump King Crab

Recipe: Roasted Plum Tomato Gazpacho with Lump King Crab

Remarks:

    A nice bottle of wine or a lemonade spritzer and this lunch would be divine on a warm and breezy afternoon. Eaten outside on a beautifully set table, it has all the elegance of a five-star restaurant, but it can also be eaten on a picnic table or in front of a movie.

Servings:
Serves four

Ingredients:

    8 plum tomatoes
    Olive oil for drizzle
    16 oz Spicy V8 juice (or other tomato juice)
    1/2 red pepper, cut into dice
    1/2 green pepper, cut into dice
    6 scallions or 3 spring onions, diced
    1 tsp honey
    2 tsp garlic minced (jar garlic will do)
    2 Tbl cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
    1 tsp cumin
    3 Tbl finely chopped parsley
    1/2 tsp salt (optional)
    Tabasco or hot sauce to taste

    4 slices bakery bread (An Italian loaf will do nicely.)
    Butter
    1 one-pound can of lump king crab meat (Open, drain and put the crab in the refrigerator until the soup is ready.)

Instructions:

    Roasted Plum Tomato Gazpacho

    Spray the bottom of a heatproof pan with olive oil, or wipe it in if you're taking olive oil from a bottle. Cut your plum tomatoes in half lengthwise and lay them in the pan. Sixteen halves fit nicely in a 9- by 13-inch pan. Drizzle the whole lot with olive oil. A teaspoon or less per tomato will do it.

    Roast the tomatoes one hour at 500 degrees. At 45 minutes you can check them, but rest assured, unless they are really small tomatoes, they will not burn. You want to take them out just when a few of them are starting to get a char on the edges. The longer they are in there, the more intense the flavor will be. Be careful when you remove them from the oven. Also be careful if you are going to put them directly in your blender. Don't burn yourself.

    When they are all in the blender you are going to puree them. You can leave a few chunks if you want, but this won't take long to get a nice puree. Set aside to cool.

    In a large mixing bowl you are going to put the V8, the red and green peppers, the scallions, honey, garlic, vinegar, cumin, parsley and salt. Add the pureed tomatoes and stir. Taste. Add Tabasco or hot sauce to taste. (A teaspoon or two should do it. If your guests like it hotter, place the Tabasco on the table so they can add more.)

    You can put the soup in your refrigerator to chill and serve later, or you can serve it room temperature now.

    Open-Face Crab Sandwich

    When you are just about ready to serve, you are going to prepare your floating, open-face crab sandwich.

    Butter your bread slices on one side. Place them on a cookie sheet. Put in a 350-degree oven for 7 minutes or until very lightly golden on the buttered side. Flip them over and toast for 3 minutes more.

Serving Suggestions:

    Spoon the soup into shallow bowls. Place the toasted bread on top in the middle of the soup and then pile one quarter of the crab on top of each person's bread slice. It's a sizeable handful. A few pieces will fall off into the soup. That's fine. The soup will be room temperature or cold, the bread will be warm and the crab will be ice cold from the refrigerator. The juxtaposition of the temperatures makes this a very interesting dish.

    Serve with a soupspoon as well as a fork and knife so the bread can be cut.

    On the side, I recommend a light salad. Mixed greens, toasted pine nuts, diced celery and a few raisins with a green goddess dressing will round the meal out just fine.

Enjoy!

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