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.
Prep time: 5 minutes (plus 2-3 hours to chill before serving)
Adapted from Epicurious
- 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)
- freshly ground pepper
- 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)
- Fill a bowl (small, soup sized is fine) with warm water.
- Tear off a four inch long piece of bread, remove the very end and soak in the water for a minute.
- Squeeze the excess water from the bread and add to the blender.
- Cut the tomatoes roughly in half so that the entire core is on one half.
- Beginning on the inside, flat side of the tomato halves with the cores, cut around and remove the cores.
- Cut the tomatoes further into quarters and add to the blender.
- Finely chop the garlic and add to the blender.
- 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.
- Puree until smooth.
- Add one half cup of olive oil and puree until throughly blended.
- Chill in a glass container for about three hours, until cold.
- Cut the baguette on the diagonal into 3/4 inch wide pieces.
- 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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