July 22, 2011 | Appetizers, Beverages, Soup
There are few recipes that seem as perfect for summer as gazpacho. The ingredients are plentiful during the summer harvest, it comes together with no cooking at all, and it’s cool and refreshing, not to mention healthy to boot. I can still remember the first time I saw gazpacho. My mom had made a batch for a picnic lunch while we were visiting Pikes Peak from Indiana. I was 11 and it was also the first time I saw string cheese. It all seemed so exotic to me at the time!Now I make my own gazpacho pretty much every summer. And while my mom often made gazpacho as a way to use up left over salad that was already dressed with a basic Italian vinaigrette (think about those flavors for a minute and you’ll see why it works), I make it when I get just the right mix of produce from my CSA farm like I did this week.And while this makes for a great lunch, snack, or first course. By the way, you know those crouton crumbs that you find at the bottom of the bag? Don’t throw them out! They make a perfect garlicky crunchy topping for the soup. And if you happen to be a Bloody Mary fan, try adding some vodka to this gazpacho next time you crave one. Now that’s a serious drink mix!
- 1 cucumber, seeded and cut into four
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
- 1 small red onion
- 2-4 cloves garlic (more = more spicy heat)
- 1 bell pepper (any color)
- 2 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil
- ½ can tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Garlic croutons, crushed, for garnish
- Cut one of the cucumber quarters into a very fine dice and set aside with the croutons for garnish. Add all remaining ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into bowls and top with diced cucumber and a sprinkle of crushed garlic croutons for crunch.