Saturday, August 28, 2010


If you're "lucky" enough to have a million tomatoes from your garden this summer, gazpacho is a great thing to do with them.

It's also a "no cook" recipe that's best served ice cold.

Gazpacho is a very fresh tomato-based Spanish summer soup (originally Arab) that was originally made with only stale bread, garlic, and olive oil. Yum.
It wasn't until after the conquistadors arrived in the Americas that tomatoes were introduced to Europe. However, they were deemed poisonous for a long time (and only used decoratively) before they were actually consumed (and no one died).

There are many variations of gazpacho depending on the region, however the main ingredients are tomato, garlic, onion, bread, olive oil, peppers, vinegar, salt, and cucumber.
Some gazpachos are smooth, others are very chunky like a salsa (and you could also use it as a salsa if you wanted).

This particular recipe was constructed after studying several other recipes- all of which contained these ingredients- before deciding on my proportions.
The recipe is also somewhat dependent on what I could find in the garden. Sadly, while foraging for vegetables there was an extremely dangerous herd of mosquitoes waiting for me.

The nice thing about this soup is that a food processor can do pretty much all of the work for you, and there's no need to clean it out between vegetables!

Well... maybe not ALL the work. You do need to peel and see the tomatoes, but it's not that hard. Make an "X" in the bottom of each tomato, cutting through the skin. Place each tomato in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove, set aside, and peel the skin off once the tomato is cool enough to handle. Cut each tomato into fourths and use your fingers to "scoop" out the seeds and "jelly" from inside the tomatoes (it doesn't matter all that much if you miss some of it). Removing the seeds and "jelly" helps to ensure your soup isn't too watery.

I prefer mine to be somewhere between smooth and chunky- I want the soup to have some body to it, but I don't necessarily want to eat chunky salsa with a spoon. Of course, you can do whatever you want.

I chose the low sodium tomato juice because I wanted to have a little more control of the amount of salt in the soup. I will admit that I also prefer kosher salt to whatever salt they might put into the juice before it's bottled.

In addition to croutons, you could serve the soup with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onion, avocado, parsley, cilantro, or basil as garnishes.

makes approximately 10 cups

4 c peeled and seeded tomatoes
1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into eights
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into large pieces
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into large pieces
1 cucumber, seeded
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 c low sodium tomato juice
2 pieces good white bread (not Wonder Bread!), crusts removed and torn into large pieces
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1 T salt

Place the tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until pureed. Pour into a large bowl. Place the onion in the food processor and pulse until it is coarsely ground. Add the onion to the bowl with the tomatoes. Continue in the same manner with the pepper and cucumber, trying to process them to the same consistency as the onion. Place the pieces of bread in the food processor and pour the tomato juice over them. Process until smooth and pour the tomato mixture into the bowl with the vegetables. Add the garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine.
Pour the gazpacho into an airtight container, cover, and refrigerate until cold (at least several hours).
The soup will be even better the next day!
Serve with chopped vegetables and garlic croutons to garnish as desired.

Garlic Croutons

5 slices good white bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 5 cups)
1 T butter
2 T olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place bread in a large bowl.
Melt butter with olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, until you can smell the garlic and you can hear it sizzle. Pour the garlic butter over the bread and toss gently. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and toss again. Pour the garlic bread onto a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, tossing and stirring a couple times while baking to make sure they brown evenly. Remove from oven and cool completely on the pan. Store in an airtight container.

*This can also be done completely in a frying pan- increase the heat a little and stir a little more often since you don't have the "surround" heat like you do in the oven.

The bread is easier to deal with if it's a little stale, and the croutons are also great on salads!

1 comment:

  1. It IS delicious, indeed. A perfect summer dish. I just had it, prepared according to this recipe. I believe the opinion that tomatoes might be poisonous was held also by St. Hildegard von Bingen, the "first female food writer". Thank you, Natalie, for helping us to cultivate our cooking!