I have never made gazpacho before. I have, however, tasted it. Twice. Well, twice before tonight.
This needs to change!
Tonight while driving to the grocery store after a long and strenuous day spent shopping with my best gal pal, I decided that gazpacho would be the most delicious, refreshing, cool, quick, easy dinner I could possibly whip up tonight. Never mind that I’d never made it before, and had no recipe at hand…I figured I could wing it on the ingredients. I mean, how hard could it be? It doesn’t even require any cooking!
Two hours later Hubby and I finally sat down to a dinner of chilled tomato soup and hot grilled cheese.
And it was worth every second.
It wasn’t the soup’s fault. It was the grilled cheese! It just had to have chicken on it (because I’m the sort of person who has to have protein in every dinner), and the chicken just had to be cooked (because chicken is one of those foods that just isn’t safe to eat raw!) and I just had to cook it myself because I’m crazy like that!
It’s a real problem.
Anyways, I actually got pretty darn close on the ingredients for the soup.
See for yourself!
Start with some diced veggies: Tomatoes, English cucumber, bell pepper, and red onion. If you don’t love the taste of raw red onion in your food, try cutting it up first then soaking the pieces in ice water for 10 minutes or so. Now, don’t get me wrong…you’ll still have dragon-breath all night (!!!) but it’ll at least take the edge off so the onion doesn’t have quite so much bite.
Also mince or chiffonade some basil up.
I used a yellow pepper (which was more expensive, but less fresh and crisp looking) because I thought it would be such a pretty contrast against the red of the soup! As it turns out, you could barely see it in the finished soup. It just sort of…blended in….
So the moral of the story is: Get the freshest, most delicious, crispiest, coolest, sweetest looking pepper available (it’ll probably be the least expensive too) no matter what color it is. Flavor is the main goal here, and the soup’ll be purty no matter what color your pepper is!
Also, I was going to use balsamic vinegar for a little acid, but when I got home from the grocery store I discovered that I didn’t have any! So I used the juice of a lemon instead, and it worked just swimmingly!
Set your diced veggies aside for now. You’ll used them in a bit!
Meanwhile, pour the contents of a 28 oz can of whole tomatoes into your blender.
Throw in a smashed clove (or two…or three…) of garlic…
And half each of the diced yellow pepper and red onion.
Then put the lid on and blend like crazy until everything is smooth!
Pour the puree into a bowl and dump in the diced tomatoes, cucumbers, the minced basil, and the rest of the pepper and onion.
Stir it all together, and drizzle in a little olive oil to enhance the flavors of the veggies. This time use the extra good, extra strong, extra virgin stuff too…since this soup doesn’t get cooked, all that fruity, rich deliciousness will really get a chance to shine!
Now would also be the time to pour in some balsamic, or red or white wine vinegar.
Or, if you are like me and do not have balsamic, but do have an embarrassment of lemons on hand at all times, use the juice of a lemon!
(I don’t really have an embarrassment of lemons in my house right now. I just wanted to say it! On the other hand, I do have an embarrassment of heads of garlic, but that just doesn’t sound as cool.)
Particularly delicious if left to chill in the fridge for a few hours so all the flavors can get really chummy and exchange phone numbers and such.
Also, particularly delicious with a scattering of shaved parmesan on top.
Aw, heck. It’s just particularly delicious whichever way you look at it!
And also particularly cool and refreshing on a hot summer day!
Here’s the recipe with all the amounts and such. Enjoy!
6 medium, very ripe tomatoes, diced (they should smell perfumey and sweet and wonderful!)
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced and soaked in ice water for 10 minutes
1 English cucumber, diced (seeds removed, if there are any. I know they aren’t supposed to have seeds, but sometimes they sneak in there!)
3 tablespoons minced basil
2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed roughly
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
2-3 tablespoons good olive oil
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or red or white wine vinegar. Something acidy, to give it a kick!
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour the canned tomatoes into a blender. Drain the red onion and reserve half. Add the other half to the blender, along with half of the bell pepper and the garlic. Puree until smooth. Pour the tomato mixture into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients (including the reserved red onion) and stir to combine. Chill for several hours or overnight. Serve cold with parmesan sprinkled on top (if desired).
Eat and be happy!
Oh, and also great with buttered, crispy toasts or grilled cheese sandwiches!
Speakin’ of grilled cheese, tomorrow: Grilled Chicken and Fresh Mozzarella Sandwiches!
Speakin’ of tomorrow: IT’S WILD BOAR DAY!
Wish me luck!