August 11, 2012

Gazpacho of Fresh Summer Vegetables

IMG_9204If you have ever had a vegetable garden, you know all too well how rewarding it can be to grow tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers during the summer. By late in the season, you probably have more of them than you know what to do with. Making a batch of gazpacho soup is a perfect way to put such seasonal vegetables to use and and a tasty way to cool you down when it is hot outside. Even if you do not have a vegetable garden, there is an abundance of fresh and affordable produce in farmer's markets and grocery stores during the summer.

Gazpacho is a tomato based soup traditionally made with stale bread, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar that originated in the Andalusian region of southern Spain. It is traditionally served cold which makes for an immensely pleasing summer meal. Thanks to the availability and accessibility of heirloom produce, modern variations of gazpacho are very popular on restaurant menus today. Chefs have replaced many of the traditional ingredients with an array of different vegetables and fruits creating gazpacho recipes such as white grape, watermelon tomato, or yellow tomato.

One of the great things about this relatively traditional recipe for gazpacho that I am sharing with you is that it is as good for you as it is tasty. It is essentially a big chopped salad that is tangy, fresh, and cool. In my attempt to persuade my children to try it, I told them that it was like having a bowl of salsa made into a soup. They both gave it two thumbs up declaring it good enough to have for dinner with a side of beans and some oven baked corn tortilla chips.

Gazpacho of Fresh Summer Vegetables
Makes about 70 ounces (about 8 cups)
For all ingredients, please use those that are organic or grown without pesticides.
 
12 roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
3 hot house cucumbers, halved, seeded, and cut into 3 inch lengths
3 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into sixths
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and de-ribbed
5-6 scallions, white part only
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minimal stems
2 cloves garlic, peeled (optional)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
  freshly ground black pepper
2 cups tomato juice, low sodium if available (I used Trader Joe’s low sodium)
1 lemon, juiced
3 limes, juiced
1 teaspoons tabasco
1 tablespoon gluten-free worcestershire sauce
 
Serve with or top with any of the following:
  avocado, diced
  red onion, diced
  roasted corn, kerneled
  fresh cilantro leaves
  toasted pepitas or sliced almonds
  oven baked corn tortilla chips
 
Recipe note – I like to reserve a few tomatoes, a pepper, and a cucumber to process separately to a more chunky texture. This extra step helps to add more texture to the soup. If you prefer to chop it all to an equal consistency or don’t want to be bothered, do not reserve the vegetables for this step and include them with the first batches. If you do not own a food processor, make it all in a blender. The texture might be finer, but it will still be delicious.
Put 9 of the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. Pour into a large bowl. Reserve the remaining 3 prepared tomatoes.
Repeat with 2 peppers and 2 cucumbers which can be processed together to the same texture as the tomatoes. Add them to the tomatoes. Reserve 1 pepper and 1 cucumber.
In the same work bowl, pulse the scallions, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic (if using) together to a fine chop. Add to the tomato mixture.
Put the reserved tomatoes, red pepper, and cucumber in the work bowl and pulse to a coarse chop. Add to the tomato mixture.
Add the olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper and stir to combine.
Add the tomato juice, lemon juice, lime juice, tabasco, and worcestershire to the soup. Stir to blend the flavors. Taste to adjust the seasonings accordingly. Think about salt, sour, and fat when adding seasonings to balance the flavors.
Refrigerate the soup for at least 5 hours before serving.
Serve the soup in bowl or chilled glasses. Top each serving with your choice of avocado, red onion, grilled corn, nuts, or chips. You can also serve the toppings separately.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

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Categories: From The Garden, Soups & Stews, Spring & Summer
 

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