The Hairy Vegetarian - Gazpacho

Posted by Steven Russell on Saturday, May 17, 2014


Liquid summer. That’s what I call gazpacho. Either that or liquid lunch, but that’s something quite different. Gazpacho is a Spanish cold soup. It’s best when you make it in the summer because it is cool, and it’s best made with local fresh produce, especially tomatoes. There are as many different recipes for gazpacho as there are ways to pronounce “tomato.” This one I developed to my taste over several years of making it different ways. Take a stab at it. If you change things around, let me know how you did!

2 large cucumbers

8-10 tomatoes

2-3 green, red, or yellow bell peppers

4-5 stalks of green onion (scallions) with or without the white part

Several sprigs of fresh basil

2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled

2-3 jalapeno peppers

Splash of apple cider vinegar

¼ cup or more of organic cold pressed virgin olive oil

The juice of 2-3 limes

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Bottled vegetable or tomato juice

Take two or three cucumbers, preferably from the garden or the local farm without wax on them. If they are from the grocery store, they are probably covered in wax among other things, so you should peel them. If they are unwaxed, I leave the peel on. It gives a little more complex bitterness to the taste. I hear there are vitamins in the peel as well. Cut them in half lengthwise. Take a spoon and scrape out the seeds to create a long trough in the cucumber half. You can eat the seeds. Otherwise compost them. You can leave the seeds in the soup, but your gazpacho will be seedy. Cut the cucumbers in two-inch chunks and place them into a food processor. You might need to process them in two batches. Chop them rather fine, especially if the peel is on. Place the chopped cucumbers in a big bowl and return the processor bin to the processor.

Take 6-10 red ripe tomatoes, preferably from the garden or the local farm. I like to use plum tomatoes for a thick soup. They can be the ugliest, ripest tomatoes you can find. My farm market sells “Ugly Ripe” tomatoes in a basket in the back of the store for a drastically reduced price. These tomatoes don’t need to look good. Slice them in half and process them to a fine almost liquid. Again, you will need to do this in small batches. Place the processed tomatoes into the bowl with the cucumbers. Some people like to take the seeds out of the tomatoes beforehand. Again, they might lend a slightly more bitter taste to the soup, but I find they add complexity to the flavor.

Remove the membranes and seeds from 2-3 bell peppers, cut into chunks, and process until fairly fine. Add to the bowl.

Place in the processor 4-5 green onion stalks (the white part adds a pungent onion flavor), several sprigs of fresh basil, 2-3 cloves of chopped fresh garlic, 2-3 jalapeño peppers with seeds and membranes removed, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and ¼ cup of olive oil. Process very fine, almost to a liquid. Add to the bowl.

Stir the mixture and let sit open for under and hour, or covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, add to the bowl the juice of 2-3 limes, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper to taste. Stir the mixture well and add bottled vegetable or tomato juice to make the soup redder or more liquid to taste. The soup can be served with chopped fresh basil or parsley as a garnish. Add more vinegar or lime juice to taste, and serve.


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