Make this meal when the weather forecast is HOT, because the meal is not.
- 8 ripe yellow tomatoes
- Two 1/2-inch-thick slices stale white or peasant bread, crusts trimmed
- 2 ribs celery with leafy tops, coarsely chopped
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, grated or made into a paste
- 1 small red onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 1 serrano chile pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
- Small handful fresh cilantro
- Juice of 1 lime
- EVOO (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons)
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 cups torn stale white or peasant bread
- A couple handfuls salted oil-roasted Marcona almonds
Stuffed Piquillos or Tomatoes:
- Two 6 to 7-ounce tins or jars good-quality sustainable tuna
- 1 cup large Spanish olives with pimiento, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 to 3 ribs celery from the heart, chopped with leafy tops
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Freshly ground pepper
- 12 piquillo peppers, drained, or 8 small plum tomatoes, hollowed out, or a combination of peppers and tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the gazpacho: Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato, then drop into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath to cool for 30 seconds, then peel, seed and chop the tomatoes.
Place half the tomatoes, bread, celery, garlic, onion, chile pepper, cucumber, cilantro, lime juice and EVOO in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, adding a splash of bottled water if needed to thin the soup. Pour the soup into a pitcher and repeat with the remaining ingredients. Adjust the seasoning and store in the refrigerator.
For the breadcrumbs: Spread the torn bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden. Let cool, then put the bread in a food processor with the almonds. Process until crumbs form.
For the stuffed piquillos or tomatoes: Drain and flake the tuna, then combine with the olives, parsley, celery, onions, lemon juice and EVOO. Season with pepper and add more EVOO to taste.
Stuff the piquillos and/or tomatoes with the tuna salad. Ladle the gazpacho into bowls and serve topped with the breadcrumbs.
Cook's Note: If you are not serving immediately, store the tuna salad and the gazpacho, covered, in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Store the breadcrumbs in an airtight container at room temperature.