Project Cold Soup: Gazpacho


We are in the wake of a heatwave here in Boston! This is the kind of weather that makes you want to rush to the office, to the near-freezing temperatures of its AC.

I hate to turn the oven on in this weather. Because, mind you, my kitchen is in the back of my living room and it turns into a true hell’s kitchen in the summer. That’s why I love to make fresh salads, cold soups, and any other food that requires minimal heating time. Gazpacho comes from the southern part of Spain called Andalusia. You can eat gazpacho from a soup bowl, or drink it from a glass. Either way, it is tasty, refreshing and very healthy, since it is made from nothing but fresh vegetables and a bit of oil and vinegar.

I make gazpacho often and I usually just cut up and throw all my veggies in a blender. This time I had a friend coming over for dinner so I decided to go all out and treat my tomatoes the way the recipe required. I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference in the taste so I probably won’t bother next time. I used a green bell pepper but I think a red or a yellow one works better here only because the color of the soup then turns more red. I have also seen recipes that call for tomato juice, which I believe will make the soup bright red.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb. ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 2 slices of white bread, crust removed
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 green bell peppers (or any sweet green pepper)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt to taste

Garnish:

  • 1 tsp each of cucumber and green pepper, finely chopped
  • 3-4 croutons (optional)

Preparation:

Soak the bread in a small amount (few tablespoons) of water. Gently remove and “squeeze” dry.

Tip: The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to boil water in a medium saucepan. As soon as water boils, turn off heat and place the tomatoes into the hot water for 1 minute. Carefully remove hot tomatoes. The skin will rub off easily.

Place the tomatoes, bread, cucumbers, onions, garlic and peppers in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth. All the ingredients may not fit at one time, so you may have to fill the blender several times.

Once gazpacho is completely blended, stir in the oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Garnish with the chopped vegetables and croutons, if desired. Serve gazpacho chilled.

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