It's H-O-T and I am not referring to the Tabasco in this recipe. The temperature outside is climbing to the 100º F mark. Definitely too hot to be turning on the stove, so a batch of this soup was in order. It is nourishing and statisfying without weighing you down and it requires little effort. It is also a great way to keep up your fluids and electrolytes in times of extreme heat.
Gazpacho is a chilled tomato-based raw vegetable soup that originates from southern Spain. There are many variations in color and flavor of the original gazpacho, which included fresh summer vegetables and stale bread. Nowadays, one can find recipes for gazpachos that include fruit and seafood, as well as ingredients like avocado and cucumber that alter the color. This tomato-based recipe stays fairly close to the roots of gazpacho with the exception of the stale bread. I keep the bread on the side for dipping.
The original recipe calls for green bell pepper and onion, but I much prefer the sweetness of red bell pepper and shallots. I also use a few green onions for their mild onion flavor. Fresh garlic adds a bit of a bite and fresh flat-leaf parsley lends a nice lemony note. The acidity from the tomatoes and vinegar is balanced by a good extra-virgin olive oil. In terms of texture, make it according to your own liking. Some prefer their gazpacho chunky and some like it smooth. I prefer it somewhere in between with a garnish of finely diced cucumber for added crunch. Lastly, several good splashes of Tabasco will accentuate the flavor in this fresh vegetable mixture if a bit of heat is your thing. If you can't stand the heat outside, try it in this bowl of summery goodness!
makes about 7 cups
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
1/2 English cucumber, seeded and roughly chopped (finely dice the remaining cucumber for garnish, optional)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 large shallot, roughly chopped
3 green onions, white and light green parts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped
1 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Tabasco or hot sauce to taste
In the bowl of a food processor, add all of the ingredients except for the oil, salt and Tabasco. Pulse until desired consistency. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the oil and salt. Taste for seasoning. Add Tabasco to taste, stirring well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve in chilled bowls garnished with diced cucumber if desired. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from The Joy of Cooking, 1997