On hot summer nights, it's nice to have something cool and refreshing for dinner. Why not take advantage of the full swing of late summer vegetables and make gazpacho?
Gazpacho is the best known of Span's chilled soups, and is made best with fresh summer vegetables, blended with olive oil, vinegar and bread. It is a smooth and creamy soup, although there is no milk or cream. It makes a great soup course, or appetizer, but works equally well as the main course for a simple dinner.
Gazpacho takes no more than about ten minutes or prep time, and should be chilled in the refrigerator for about twenty or thirty more minutes. The quick preparation makes it perfect for a weeknight meal.
Although baguettes are specified in the recipe, any white bread will do. Adding a dash of red pepper flakes will make the dish more colorful and add a bit of spice, if desired.
Blender or Food Processor
4 baguette slices, 1 /2” thick
2/3 cup water
6 small ripe tomatoes (or 5 medium ones)
1/2 green pepper
1 1/2” length of cucumber
1/3 small onion
1 small garlic clove (or 3/4 medium garlic clove)
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
salt (as needed)
ground black pepper (to taste)
additional extra virgin olive oil to finish
Cut the baguette slices into 3/4 inch pieces and put in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and let them soak while preparing the other ingredients.
Remove the stems from the tomatoes, the seeds and stem from the pepper. Peel the onion, cucumber, and garlic clove. Cut each vegetable into 3/4 inch pieces and add to the bowl with the bread.
Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of white-wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and ground pepper, and mix well.
Put the vegetable mixture into a blender of food processor. Blend the ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Don't over fill your blender. It's okay to do this in batches.
Place the sieve over a clean bowl (rinsing and wiping cleaning the bowl you just used will be fine) and pour in the mixture. Strain the mixture through the sieve using a rubber spatula to push the liquid through. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled (about thirty minutes).
Transfer the soup to individual serving bowls and drizzle some olive oil over the top. Serve with additional baguette slices, or better yet, bruschetta, as desired.
Makes 6 servings.
You don't have to strain the soup through a sieve if you don't want. I don't mind the occasional tiny piece of tomato or cucumber seeds and skin. If I were serving this for an elegant dinner party, I would do it, though. What you may want to do is scrape the leavings out of the sieve, add a bit of salt, pepper and olive oil, and have a quick treat yourself, as a reward for making dinner. There's a lot of flavor in those bits!