No ordinary gazpacho, this. Here, we celebrate the essence of perfectly ripe tomatoes in their glorious chunkiness with just a few seasonings to enhance their sweet-tart juiciness.

Go ahead and add a little sprinkle of Maldon salt to each serving if you must.


4 pounds very ripe red tomatoes

1 cup water

2 Tbsp. mellow white miso paste

2 Tbsp. finely minced fresh basil

1 Tbsp. agave nectar

2 tsp. vegetable bouillon base, such as Better Than Bouillon

2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 small clove garlic, pressed or finely minced

Freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil and fresh basil sprigs for garnish


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, remove it from the heat, and lower the tomatoes into it. Be sure the tomatoes are completely submerged.

2. After 2 minutes, lift out the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a strainer to drain and cool.

3. In a big deep bowl, whisk together the water, miso, basil, agave nectar, bouillon, paprika, lemon zest and garlic. Whisk until the miso and bouillon are dissolved.

4. Core and peel the tomatoes while holding them over the bowl so you don’t lose any juices. Using perfectly clean hands, squish the tomatoes until they’re broken down to manageable chunks. If you’re feeling prissy (no value judgment here), you may instead pulse them briefly in a food processor, but try not to puree them. They should remain chunky.

5. Stir well and chill thoroughly. Garnish each serving with a little pepper, a drizzle of your very best olive oil, and some sprigs of fresh basil.

Wendy Andresen lives in Camden with her husband, Ray; her Sheltie, Sunshine; and her bunny, Rustle. She welcomes responses to her column at