Summer Gazpacho

September 2, 2016 | By | Reply More

summer gazpacho

Someone reminded me the other day that although it’s September and photos of other peoples’ kids heading off to school with their new backpacks flood my Facebook feed, it’s still NOT fall. That doesn’t come until September 22nd this year, the autumnal equinox. So while I might be so over the heat and hard work of summer, it’s not time to switch out my closets just yet and cozy up with homemade hot chocolate.

This Labor Day weekend in the Philly suburbs, we’ll be dealing with a cold front and remnants of tropical storm Hermine as she makes her way up the east coast. High winds and heavy rain don’t exactly make for perfect grilling weather, so I’m thinking of ways to enjoy our end-of-summer garden bounty indoors.

Gazpacho, at least on paper, is a perfect way to use up lots of veggies – the best tomatoes at their peak of ripeness or even a bit beyond that, peppers and cucumbers. But, I admit that this Spanish-style soup that’s served cold has never been a huge favorite of mine, and I’ve finally figured out why. Even though there’s nothing in it I don’t like, most recipes are simply too similar to salsa in texture. I love salsa, but I don’t want to eat a bowl of it with a spoon.

summer gazpachoThis summer, I saw this new recipe in Bon Appetit which I’ve barely adapted, and I’ve changed my tune on gazpacho. This one is a super-smooth soup, pureed to exactly the texture I want. For serving, a little pile of diced colorful heirloom and cherry tomatoes and cucumbers along with a drizzle of good olive oil make the presentation of this summer gazpacho fancy restaurant-worthy. We’ve been eating a lot of this poolside and so have our friends – it’s the perfect outdoor lunch food because it’s refreshing on a hot day. It can conveniently be made a day or two ahead of time and the flavor gets even better. I have also tagged this recipe as “good for singles” because while it makes a bit batch, the leftovers are wonderful for days.

PSA: Don’t even think about making this with out-of-season, non-local produce. Recipes like this with few ingredients that are never cooked rely on the very best ingredients. Use luscious tomatoes from your own garden or from the farmer’s market and same goes for the cucumbers and peppers.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1/2 large English cucumber, peeled and seeded (I use an Asian cucumber called Satsuki Midori from my garden and it’s wonderful here)

1/2 large red sweet bell pepper (I use 2-3 whole Jimmy Nardello peppers since that’s what I’m growing)

2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, preferably mostly red although I threw in one of my Dr. Wyche’s Yellow tomatoes because they taste so good, cut into wedges

1/2 large shallot, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

Sea salt

3 Tbsp. good olive oil, plus extra for serving

summer gazpachoChopped heirloom tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, diced peeled and seeded cucumber and chopped fresh chives (if you have them) for serving

Step one:

1/2 large English cucumber, peeled and seeded

1/2 large red sweet bell pepper

2 pounds very ripe tomatoes

1/2 large shallot, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

Sea salt

3 Tbsp. good olive oil

Combine the vegetables with the vinegar and 2 teaspoons of sea salt in a large bowl and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Transfer ingredients to a blender (my Vitamix is awesome for this!) or food processor and add the olive oil. Puree until very smooth. Taste the soup and season with more salt as needed and even a bit more vinegar if you like. I usually find I want a bit more salt but no more vinegar.

summer gazpachoChill the soup for at least one hour in the fridge.

Step two:

Chopped heirloom tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, diced peeled and seeded cucumber and chopped fresh chives for serving

When ready to serve, ladle the summer gazpacho into shallow bowls and top with colorful tomatoes, cucumbers and chives if using. Add an artful drizzle of olive oil.

We enjoy this soup with a few slices of toasted sourdough country bread. Drizzle olive oil on the bread prior to toasting and then rub the warm slices with a garlic clove. Enjoy!

 

 

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Category: Food, Main Dishes, Recipes, Summer

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