Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gazpacho and Hot Summer Nights

Okay, so part of that title is a big fat lie. It hasn't been hot at all (but it was) and we are in fact enjoying some pretty darn gorgeous, albeit, cool summer weather. But it's July and I always make gazpacho in July--August, too--so in spite of 70 degree weather, I concentrated on the blue skies and sunshine and got my blender out.

What I'm sharing with you is the simplest, tastiest, and best of the best gazpacho recipes. It's not only delicious, but super healthy, so you'll definitely want to make some soon.

One of my problems with gazpacho is the same problem I have with hummus: there are 1,000s of recipes, but only a handful are really good. Like hummus, gazpacho can be easily overwhelmed by too much garlic and with gazpacho, the addition of the green pepper can give the finished soup too much 'green' flavor, thus making it an impossible match for a good glass of wine. This recipe solves the problem and if you notice from the picture, this is soup has a fabulous orangey-red color, imparted from my secret ingredient.

Summer Gazpacho

8 Ripe Tomatoes
3-4 Roasted Red Peppers (Secret Ingredient)
1 Large Cucumber, Peeled and Seeded
1Small Clove of Garlic
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Garnishes (Diced Roasted Yellow Pepper, Finely Chopped Red Onion, Diced Cucumber, Toasted Bread, Olive Oil)

1. Chop tomatoes and puree in the blender along with the garlic. I don't seed my tomatoes because I like to use a mesh sieve to extract the pulp and to thicken the soup since I don't use bread in the recipe, but rather as a garnish.
2. Toss in the cucumber and the roasted red pepper and puree until blended.
3. Turn the blender on low and add about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of olive oil and the red wine vinegar (I use 1/4 cup, but you can use more depending on your own taste.
4. Place a wire mesh sieve over a bowl and in small batches, pour in the gazpacho. Using a wooden spoon, stir the soup and press the pulp (gently; tomato seeds create bitterness) until all of the liquid is in the bowl; discard the pulp (okay--I don't do this; I toast some bread and spread it on and eat a 'gazpacho' garbage sandwich, but that's just me.)
5. Chill soup for at least 4-6 hours and as most soups, it really is better the next day.
6. To eat: ladle into shallow bowls and top with garnishes; serve with crusty toasted bread and a serve with either a nice Spanish (duh) or French (yum) dry rose'.

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