Spanish Tomato and Vinegar Soup

Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews

A super tasty meal to make at home

Way in the back of the Guide to Good Leading, Part 3, Managing Ourselves, there’s a recipe for a really great, easy to make, late summer Tomato and Vinegar Soup. Having walked through the market this weekend, there are lots of lovely heirloom tomatoes out for sale and this soup would be a perfect way to use some of them up. Cherry tomatoes—with their wonderful sweetness—would work well too. (In the offseason, you can make the soup with the high-quality canned tomatoes we get from pizzaiolo extraordinaire Chris Bianco.)

To make the Tomato and Vinegar Soup, sauté a bit of diced onion and garlic, with a pinch of sea salt, in extra virgin olive oil until soft, but not brown. Add a few spoonfuls of Spanish paprika and mix well. Sauté another minute or two. Add a bunch of tomatoes—cut into large chunks—and a couple of bay leaves. I’d figure two or three large tomatoes per person since they cook down in the soup. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for an hour. Add a little water if the soup gets too thick. Add some rice—preferably Spanish short grain—and the vinegar and simmer until the rice is done, about 15 to 18 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Garnish with a ribbon of olive oil across the top and serve hot.

The paprika I like to use is the smoked pimentón de la vera—the traditional oak-smoked offering from the western part of Spain, not all that far from where the Finca Pascualete is made. I prefer the pimentón in its spicy version, but we also have a sweet option as well. The vinegar is what makes the soup so special! It adds a wonderful lightness to the finished soup. Sherry vinegar, aged red wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar all taste great, but PX Vinegar makes the dish exceptionally delicious! The depth and character it brings will make the soup super special.