Cherry Tomato and Chile Gazpacho
- 1 pound ripe cherry tomatoes (about 4 cups)
- 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped, or 4 Persian cucumbers, chopped
- 1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and coarsely chopped
- 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and coarsely chopped
- 1 large or 2 small shallots, coarsely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 to 3 teaspoons hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1/2 tube (9 ounces) store-bought, pre-cooked polenta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
For the gazpacho: Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, chiles, shallots, garlic, vinegar, hot sauce, and salt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours until ready to serve.
For the croutons: In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan with 1 inch of oil. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. (If you don't have a thermometer, a cube of bread will brown in about 3 minutes.) Working in batches, carefully add the polenta cubes and fry, stirring occasionally to keep the cubes separated, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
To serve: Ladle the gazpacho into 4 soup bowls and top with the polenta croutons.