Make Your Own Gazpacho
Between the backyard garden, CSA deliveries, and compulsive trips to the farmers’ market – my kitchen is bursting with tomatoes and other goodies like cucumbers, onion and herbs. What’s one of the most tasty and healthy ways to use up lots of veggies? When life hands you tomatoes . . . make gazpacho!
Take your pick of favorite fresh seasonal vegetables and herbs. The only other ingredients needed are olive oil, a source of acid, tomato juice, salt and pepper. If you’ve got some day old bread lying around, use it to thicken the soup (see recipe below).
Classic veggie options include tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, onion and celery. Then add a flavor punch with fresh garlic and herbs like parsley, basil, chives or cilantro. Use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil and some acidity from fresh lemon or lime juice or vinegar like red wine, balsamic or sherry.
Depending on the texture you prefer, take your pick of kitchen tools. Hand chop ingredients for an extra chunky soup, pulse in the food processor for less texture, or puree in the blender for something smoother. Using a combination of these methods can also be the key to a perfect bowl of gazpacho.
Chill gazpacho before serving. A couple of hours in the fridge will allow the flavors to develop and marry -- it makes an enormous difference!
Make the meal as light or as hearty as you want. Serve icy gazpacho with fresh crusty bread, grilled chicken or seafood, or a crumble of salty cheese like feta or goat.
*Grating the garlic allows it to be more evenly distributed throughout the soup. Grate using a microplane, if you don’t have one, finely mince garlic instead.
Tear bread into pieces and place in a bowl of water for 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
Finely chop cucumber, pepper and red onion. Combine these veggies with 2 cups of tomatoes in a large bowl. Mix well and reserve 1 cup of this mixture in a separate container for serving. Add garlic, corn kernels, and herbs to the bowl and season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
Squeeze excess water out of bread and place in a blender along with remaining 2 cups of chopped tomatoes. Add tomato juice, lemon juice, vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper to blender and blend. While the machine is running, stream in olive oil.
Pour pureed tomato mixture into the bowl along with vegetables and stir to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. Serve chilled topped with reserved vegetables.