Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Gazpacho


I love gazpacho. What's not to love? It's cold and refreshing, has tons of flavor, is really healthy, and can be garnished to your heart's content. And it looks beautiful. I even like bad gazpacho - you know, where the texture isn't quite right or the balance of flavor is off.

Randy and I went to Spain for our honeymoon and I ate gazpacho every single day and sometimes twice a day. Lunch was always a bowl of the soup and a "tortilla" which is like a frittata made of eggs, potatoes, and onions. I looked forward to this lunch each and every day. It was always a little different depending on what town we were in, but always delicious. I often started dinner off with gazpacho instead of a salad because, after all, it is kind of a liquid salad, but oh so much better. Really cold, tangy from the tomatoes and sherry vinegar, sweet from the onion and cucumber, and all nice and crunchy.

As much as I love the soup itself, the garnishes really make it for me. Big toasted croutons are my favorite, but this time I also included diced avacado and hard boiled egg. It all just made a good thing that much better.

As our June gets off to a very wet start, I thought I would beckon summer with a Spanish menu. Along with the Gazpacho, I served a Vegetable Paella, Smoky Swiss Chard, and for the Dana Treat, a Vanilla Bean Flan.

Gazpacho
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Serves 6-8


One of the best things about this recipe is that it is dead easy. Really all you are doing is chopping and mixing. It is a great do-ahead recipe because it can sit for up to two days in the refrigerator and needs no last-minute attention except for garnishing. To make great croutons, cut some good sourdough bread in to large (1 inch) cubes. Toss on a baking sheet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, a good dose of kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Bake in a 375 degree oven until golden brown. I don't drizzle my gazpacho with olive oil, but you certainly can!

3 ripe medium tomatoes, cored and seeded, cut in to 1/4 inch cubes
2 medium red bell peppers, cored and seeded, cut in to 1/4 inch cubes
1 medium cucumber, seeded and cut in to 1/4 inch cubes
2 large shallots, peeled and minced
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
5 cups tomato juice
1 tsp. Tabasco (optional)
Olive Oil (optional)


Combine tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, shallots, garlic, salt, vinegar, and pepper in a large glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato juice and Tabasco. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve cold with garnishes of your choice.

1 comment:

debkaps said...

Dana - I have never considered ordering gazpacho in a fine restaurant, let alone making it at home...until I read tonight's blog. Maybe I will beckon summer with you by trying this fantastic recipe! You're a fantastic chef, a fabulous blogger and a wonderful, generous friend!