As we often note in the blog, this time of year the garden dictates much of what we cook. Happily, we have ripe tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in the garden. And it’s hot, so we don’t want to spend too much time at the stove. So not surprisingly, we make gazpacho, the famous cold vegetable soup of Spain. But what may surprise is that we have mixed feelings on gazpacho. Carolyn loves almost any good gazpacho, but my feelings are sometimes mixed (I think the flavor is sometimes garlicky or muddy and the texture too chunky). But this recipe changes that, we both love this version of gazpacho.
Our recipe is adapted from Saveur, like most gazpacho recipes it includes ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onion, garlic, bread, sherry vinegar, oil, water and salt (we also like a touch of smoked paprika). But unlike most recipes, it focuses on the tomato and cucumber, lightens the garlic and uses the onions and peppers for garnish. The recipe also calls for the gazpacho to be pureed in the food processor and then passed through a coarse sieve. While this is just a bit of extra work, what you get is a light, smooth gazpacho with very clean and bright tomato flavor. As a garnish, the peppers and onions add crunch and bright flavors, but without dominating. We think it looks good, too.
And when the tomatoes are super-ripe and sweet, this dish really sings. As our friend, chef and Spanish food aficionado Chad says, “gazpacho is great when you need the vinegar to balance the sweetness of the tomatoes, instead of looking for sweetness to offset the vinegar”. We think Chad has it right. And one of the best things about this dish is that you can follow the base recipe and add vinegar, salt and smoked paprika to balance the flavors. And since there is just a touch of garlic in this version of the dish, you can actually enjoy the sweet tomatoes.
Puree until very smooth. Continue reading