It’s been a pretty hot week here on the East Coast (dashing my hopes of cooling off after a hot summer in Delhi!) and I’ve been looking for some appropriate recipes for this weather. Gazpacho, a cold tomato soup, is a light and nutritious soup and gives you the perfect excuse to use some of those ripe, juicy tomatoes that are in this season. The healthiest of this soup was definitely appealing to me after pigging out at the Charlottesville Restaurant Week last week (details to follow!), where I discovered another great restaurant, Horse and Hound.
Raw vegetables are blended together in this soup with some bread, using sherry vinegar, which exaggerates the tomatoes’ acidity, giving the soup its characteristically zesty flavor. It is a raw soup in the sense that none of the vegetables used are first cooked, which is why the fresher your ingredients, the better the soup is going to taste.
Recipe adapted from Monika Kotus of Crumpets and Cakes posted at The Kitchn
- 2 thick slices of day-old country bread, crusts removed and cut into small pieces (I used French bread)
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds ripest, sweetest most flavorful tomatoes, quartered
- 2 tablespoons aged sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup fragrant extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- Sea salt
- 1 firm medium-sized cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
- 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
- Place the bread in a large bowl, drizzle with some olive oil and squeeze out juice from one tomato over it. Add 1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar and mix it well with your fingers. Set aside, for at least 10 minutes
- Transfer the bread mixture to a food processor and add minced garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt. Process until very smooth.
- Add half of the tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, generous pinch of salt and 1/4 cup of olive oil; process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- Repeat with another batch of vegetables, remaining tomatoes and olive oil.
- Add some of the remaining sherry vinegar and salt. If, after adding these, your gazpacho is still too thick, you can add the bare minimum of water needed to thin it out. Taste and adjust amounts of each to your liking.
- Mix the two batches together. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving and serve with some toasted bread if you want to add that extra crunch.