I love Gazpacho.
It’s summer in a bowl.
If you haven’t tried it before, Gazpacho is a chilled, uncooked tomato and vegetable soup. Although it originated in Spain, Gazpacho quickly caught on in the US especially in restaurants that feature fresh and seasonal dishes.
If you have a garden, CSA box, farmer’s market, or good road side stand, it’s time to take advantage of those fresh tomatoes, peppers, and onions and make a big bowl of Gazpacho.
Here’s what you need:
Tomatoes, Cucumber, Green Pepper, Onion, Garlic, Jalapeno Pepper, Parsley, Tomato Juice, Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, Paprika, Sugar, Dried Oregano, Salt & Pepper.
We found these gorgeous red and yellow tomatoes at a road side farm stand…which is something of a miracle since summer in Florida is not like summer everywhere else in the country. Gardens grow here in the winter and spring so I’m guessing that these tomatoes might be on loan to us from a state slightly less tropical. You can obviously use only red tomatoes, but I thought the combo looked pretty.
Gazpacho requires a lot of chopping — something I find quite therapeutic. If you have a food processor, you can use it to chop the ingredients however to avoid them becoming mush, process each vegetable separately and only use the smallest number of pulses of the motor that it takes to get a small chop. Too much processing will get you a big bowl of foamy red glop.
Finely chop 6-8 tomatoes into a very small dice. To get rid of some of the seeds, I scoop the tomatoes up off my cutting board with my hands rather than just dumping them into the bowl.
Peel a cucumber, cut it into fourths, and then use your knife to cut at an angle to remove the seeds. Or you can also scoop the seeds out with a spoon. Cut the quarters into long strips and cut across to finely dice. The trick is to have all of the vegetables approximately the same size.
Seed and chop up 1 green bell pepper and add it to the bowl with the tomatoes and cucumber.
Half of a medium onion chopped VERY fine is all we need.
Finely chop 1/2 cup of fresh parsley and add it to the bowl. If you have a garlic press, use it to squeeze 2-3 cloves of garlic into the bowl. If you don’t have a press, just mince the garlic as small as possible.
For a little kick, I add one jalapeno that has had the seeds and white inner membranes removed. This is a big bowl of soup and one jalapeno doesn’t make it very hot at all. If you like things spicy, feel free to leave the seeds in the pepper as that’s where most of the heat is located. I make my Gazpacho a little on the mild side and then serve it with a variety of hot sauces for those who want more heat.
Everything into the big bowl!
To make this soupy rather than salsa, add 2 cups of tomato juice,
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil,
and 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar.
For seasoning add 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce,
1 Tablespoon paprika,
1 Tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and salt & pepper to taste.
Stir it all together, cover, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to chill and give the flavors a chance to blend together. Double check the seasonings after the soup has chilled as you might need a bit more salt & pepper.
Many traditional Gazpacho recipes are made with a base of stale bread that has been soaked in water. I’m not a huge fan of this method and prefer just the veggies in my version of Gazpacho. However, sometimes I make a few homemade croutons like we did for the Panzanella Salad as a garnish for the top of the soup. You can also garnish it with a small dollop of sour cream, a little chopped avocado, or a bit of chopped hard boiled egg.
My favorite is eating just a plain bowl so I can taste each and every ripe, sunny, summer vegetable.
I’m guessing that a little of this blended up would make a killer base for Bloody Marys. Just a suggestion…
Here’s the recipe: