An 80s trend with staying power, gazpacho’s quick, easy and comforting. In the positive column it’s versatile. It can be strained and served as a drink, paired with a salad for a meal, or served as a quick snack. On the negative side it’s associated with brunch.
Gazpacho (serves 6)
- 2 lbs tomatoes, capped and halved
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded & rough cut
- 1 red onion, peeled and rough cut
- 3 spears celery, cubed
- 6 small sweet peppers, capped and halved
- 1 jalapeno, capped and halved
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (preferably white)
- Salt to taste
- Pepper for garnish
- 3-5 fresh basil leaves, finely cut for garnish
[For a more southwestern version, substitute the jalapeño for two roasted poblano peppers, the 3 cloves of raw garlic for 5 cloves of roasted garlic, red onion for sweet white onion, and the balsamic vinegar for the juice of 1 lemon or lime. The roasted poblano and garlic give it a mellower, more earthy flavor. You can also substitute lemon or lime juice for balsamic vinegar.]
Pour the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Then add tomatoes and salt, cover, and let stream for ten minutes or until the skins are easily peeled off.
While the tomatoes are doing their thing, prepare the vegetables for the food processor or blender. It’s important to crush the garlic cloves to bring out their oil. It’s also important to peel and seed the cucumber. Otherwise the gazpacho will have a metallic taste.
By this time the tomatoes should be ready. Remove their skins with two forks, puree the tomatoes and liquid, and pour into a ceramic bowl.
Then process the remaining vegetables and balsamic vinegar to whatever texture you’d like, and fold into the tomato mixture.
This should chill for up to two hours, and can keep in the fridge for up to a week. Garnish with basil and black pepper before serving. If you want a deeper red color, you can substitute a 26 oz can of peeled tomatoes for fresh tomatoes, or stir in a few cups of tomato juice.