Time: 45 minutes, plus at least 2 1/2 hours to chill. Chef Craig Von Foerster of Sierra Mar restaurant at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur won the Sunset Gold award at the 2008 Carmel TomatoFest in California for his intensely flavored interpretation of the classic summer soup.
2 1/2 pounds ripe yellow tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 cup peeled green or half-ripe papaya cut in 1/4-in. dice
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and cut in 1/4-in. dice
1/4 cup minced red onion
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh galangal or ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped Thai basil or regular basil leaves
1/2 to 1 tbsp. Sriracha
Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce or kosher salt
How to Make It
In a food processor, pulse 1/3 of tomatoes at a time until finely chopped. Pour into a bowl.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine vinegar, lime leaves, and lemongrass. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and stir into tomato mixture. Chill about 2 hours to blend flavors. Press mixture through a coarse strainer into another bowl and discard contents of strainer.
Stir remaining ingredients into tomato mixture, adding Sriracha and fish sauce to taste. Chill until cold and flavors are blended, at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight.