Going Gaga for Summer Gazpacho

Going Gaga for Summer Gazpacho

I missed out on gazpacho for many years because I thought it was boring and over-done. With the exception of a green zebra tomato gazpacho I had during a chef’s tasting menu (whose interesting flavor I attribute more to the green tomatoes than anything about the gazpacho itself), I had never met a gazpacho that left me wanting more until this recipe.

Though some add cucumber or onion, I tend to avoid them because acidity of raw onion can bother some guests and I often pair this with a cucumber soup. But try this recipe and you may agree that you really don’t need anything else.

Serves: 8
Prep time: 5 minutes (plus 2-3 hours to chill before serving)
Adapted from
Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds (about five medium) ripe local tomatoes (if tomatoes are not in season, 1 can of high-quality diced, canned diced tomatoes will work perfectly)
  • 1 french baguette (the good crusty kind)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • sherry vinegar (I have used red wine vinegar and also balsamic in a pinch, which was surprisingly incredibly successful and popular)
  • salt
  • sugar
  • cumin
  • freshly ground pepper
  • pimenton
  • spanish extra virgin olive oil (available in the 365 brand at Whole Foods. Italian will also work, but Portuguese can be a bit different, so stick to Italian if you don’t have Spanish oil on hand)

Method

  1. Fill a bowl (small, soup sized is fine) with warm water.
  2. Tear off a four inch long piece of bread, remove the very end and soak in the  water for a minute.
  3. Squeeze the excess water from the bread and add to the blender.
  4. Cut the tomatoes roughly in half so that the entire core is on one half.
  5. Beginning on the inside, flat side of the tomato halves with the cores, cut around and remove the cores.
  6. Cut the tomatoes further into quarters and add to the blender.
  7. Finely chop the garlic and add to the blender.
  8. Add three tablespoons sherry vinegar (or two tablespoons other vinegar, see above), 3 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon pimenton.
  9. Puree until smooth.
  10. Add one half cup of olive oil and puree until throughly blended.
  11. Chill in a glass container for about three hours, until cold.
  12. Cut the baguette on the diagonal into 3/4 inch wide pieces.
  13. Serve the gazpacho with baguette slices for dipping and scraping the last delicious drops from your bowls.

Looking for a something different? Cucumber yogurt or chilled watermelon soups are other elegant ways to start off a meal.

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