|Our homemade habañera chile sauce... Hot! Hot! Hot!|
2 pounds large plum tomatoes, halved
2 very large red bell peppers (or 3 medium)
1 large red onion (or 2 medium)
1 cup tomato sauce
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar 1 inner leaf butter lettuce, or 1 leaf romaine lettuce
Lightly brush the skin sides of the tomatoes with olive oil, and then set on a cookie sheet cut-side up. Drizzle the cut sides with olive oil so that it soaks into the nooks and crannies. Season cut sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Peel onion(s) and cut in half “around the equator” as Mark puts it. Brush the cut sides liberally with olive oil, letting it seep in between the layers. Season cut sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Trim tops and bottoms of the pepper and then cut vertically along sharpest curves, reducing each to 3 or 4 flat pieces. Drizzle with olive oil on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat gas grill to medium high. When hot, place all the tomatoes on the grill, cut side up. Place onion halves off to the sides or on an upper grill shelf, cut side up. All veggies should be placed as level as possible to keep the olive oil inside. Reduce heat of the grill to medium low and close cover. Let the tomatoes and onions cook for 10 minutes, or until tomato skins are well-charred.
Remove tomatoes to a large bowl and cover. (This will loosen the skins.) Leave onions on the grill.
Raise the heat on the grill to medium high. Add peppers to the grill, skin side down, and let cook 5-8 minutes until skins are well-charred. Put charred peppers in a separate smaller bowl and cover.
Leave onions on the grill until tender. Outer layer of the onion will be completely charred and unusable, and the inner layers will swell and start rising up. When tender, remove from the grill, discard charred outer layer, and cut the each half into 4 pieces.
Place onion chunks in a blender. Gently pull the charred skins off each tomato and discard skins. Add the tomatoes to the blender. Remove charred skins from the peppers and add them to the blender, as well. Some charred bits will remain on all veggies - that is not a problem. (Too much charred skin will make the soup bitter...)
Add 1/2 cup water and the hot sauce to the blender and purée until smooth. It will still have a little texture. Pour soup into a container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. When chilled, add the tomato sauce, an additional 1 cup water, and sherry vinegar. Stir well. Soup can be served at this time, or put back in the refrigerator to continue chilling. (Soup can be made three days in advance)
To serve, divide the soup among 6 small bowls or glasses (margarita glasses work well!). Finely slice the lettuce leaf into a chiffonade and use the shredded lettuce to garnish the soup.