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Garden fresh from the vine gazpacho soup

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RICHMOND, Va. – Patrick Willis, Executive Chef from Lemaire Restaurant at The Jefferson Hotel, walked us through the steps on creating a delicious seasonal soup and salad recipe using fresh local ingredients featuring Hanover Tomato Gazpacho and Hanover Tomato Panzanella. For more information you can visit www.lemairerestaurant.com

HANOVER TOMATO GAZPACHO

4 Hanover tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 Fresno chiles, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
10 large basil leaves
1 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/8 cup sherry vinegar
3/4 cup water, if needed
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

Place the ingredients into a blender on high speed until smooth being careful not to heat the soup.  Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.  If necessary, add water for a thinner consistency.  Refrigerate before serving.

Garnish:

I highly recommend adding fresh jumbo lump blue crab, diced avocado and petite basil leaves to your bowl before pouring the soup.

Chef Patrick Willis, Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel

Hanover Tomato Panzanella
Ingredients:
2 large, ripe Hanover tomatoes, cut into wedges
½ pint sun gold tomatoes, cut in half
1 English cucumber, partially peeled and seeds removed, cut into thin slices
1 small, Vidalia onion, sliced and grilled
2 oz. burrata cheese, cut into wedges (substitute fresh mozzarella if burrata is not available)
1 thick slice of brioche bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons of garlic oil, used for toasting brioche croutons
¼ cup balsamic vinegar, reduced by half
3 tablespoons of good olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chiffonade basil
Directions:
In a small sauce pan, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and reduce by half.  Store the sauce in a refrigerator for later use.
Peel and cut the Vidalia onion into ¼ inch slices.  Brush the onion rings with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and grill.  Once the onions are cooked, place them in the refrigerator to cool.
Cut brioche into 1 inch cubes and toss in garlic oil.  Toast the croutons in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes or until golden brown.
Toss the Hanover tomatoes, sun gold tomatoes and cucumber with salt, pepper, basil, olive oil, and champagne vinegar.
Assembly:
Arrange the tomatoes and cucumbers on a serving plate.  Add the grilled onions, burrata cheese and toasted brioche croutons.  Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar reduction and garnish with fresh basil.