2 tablespoonsred wine vinegar (sherry or white wine vinegar will work if you don’t have red) (more if needed, to taste)
Chicken stock or water
English cucumber, finely diced (for garnish)
Toss tomatoes and zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt(affiliate link), and a few cranks of freshly cracked pepper into a large bowl. Let stand for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Preheat grill to high, cover, and heat until very hot about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
Clean and oil cooking grate. Place tomatoes and zucchini cut sides down on the grill (reserve any juice left behind in the bowl) and grill (covered) until tomatoes are charred and beginning to soften. Using tongs or thin metal spatula, carefully flip tomatoes and continue to cook until skin sides are charred but are not too mushy. Transfer tomatoes to bowl and cool.
Place grilled veg and any juices, bread, shallot, garlic, chili pepper, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt(affiliate link) into the blender and blend on high for 1 minute. With blender running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup olive oil until completely smooth, about two minutes longer. Strain soup through a strainer into a large measuring cup, using a rubber spatula to press the soup through a strainer. Stir in thyme (or basil) and vinegar. Add enough chicken stock or water to make four cups. Taste for seasoning.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to carry all the flavors. Taste again before serving. Often the chilling process deadens flavors, so you may need to up it a bit. Season with salt, pepper, and extra vinegar to taste. Serve with some grilled crusty bread, rubbed with garlic and olive oil. Garnish with chopped cucumber if desired.
*Use any variety of tomato you’d like, heirloom would be particularly good, but tiny cherries are awesome too! When cutting the tomatoes, if they seem overly ripe, squeeze them over a strainer and catch the juice in a bowl, reserve for later. Too wet the tomato may not get a nice char.
**Best way to check for heat in chili is to taste it, you just never know