Gazpacho

During the late summer, it seems everyone who raises a garden has surplus tomatoes and vegetables.  Gazpacho, a tomato based vegetable soup that is easy to prepare and served cold, makes great use of all those vegetables.  It’s refreshing and light – perfect for warm summer evenings.

This simple dish can be as easy as simply adding tomatoes and vegetables to a blender with some seasonings.  However, I feel the best versions have a clear distinction between a rich tomato-y base and crunchy, cool vegetables.  I feel the vegetables are best when diced by hand to a uniform small size.  It’s a little extra knife work, but the results are worth it.

To preserve the crunch of the diced vegetables I don’t add them immediately to the puree.  I refrigerate the puree separately from the diced vegetables until the last half hour before serving. This also means that you are seasoning the puree without the vegetables added, so err on the side of well seasoned.

 

Pureed base

16 ounces peeled and seeded tomato flesh

8 ounces tomato juice (set the trimmings in a colander over a bowl – this will yield the juice)

Juice of one lime

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cucumber peeled and seeded

½ medium onion, roughly chopped

Several sprigs fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Diced ingredients

1 cucumber finely diced

½ onion finely diced

1 cup mixed peppers (red, green, yellow, purple) finely diced

2 firm plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely diced

 

To serve

Basil chiffonade for garnish

Croutons, or grilled crostini

 

1.     For the puree, combine all ingredients in a blender and mix, slowly increasing the speed until pureed.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  You want the puree to be well salted because you will be adding unsalted vegetables later.  Chill at least an hour.

2.    Combine the finely diced vegetables in a bowl, add a few ice cubes and chill up to an hour.

3.    Within 30 minutes of serving, drain the diced vegetables and add to the puree.  Gently mix and continue to chill.

4.    To serve, ladle into a bowl, garnish with basil chiffonade and croutons or crostini.