The grand thing about cooking is you can eat your mistakes. -Julia Child

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Anna's Simple Summer Gazpacho


Wow, talk about a food that doesn't photograph well.  Well, I'm sure someone with more skills than I have could do a better job.  But amateur me had a hard time with this one, so hopefully this picture here looks appetizing to you.  Because the dish itself is really yummy.

Summer is finally here.  Tomatoes have been very slow in making their way to our farmer's markets here in NY, but I think all of you down south have had these ready and ripe for quite some time now.  In fact I know that's the case, as my friend Anna in DC told me weeks ago about gazpacho she made with her farmer's market finds.  She shared her recipe with me in a random online chat; the below recipe is my interpretation of her informal directions.

Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish chilled soup.  Like many "traditional" recipes, many variations pop up.  This one keeps it simple, blending all the ingredients together to create a uniform yet chunky consistency.  Some people prefer to chop some vegetables by hand and add them to a blended base.  Some add bread crumbs for texture and consistency.  But in the summer when you probably want to minimize your time spent in the kitchen, simplicity wins.  The taste isn't sacrificed, trust me.

Anna's Simple Summer Gazpacho
Serves 4
Printable version

1 1/2 lbs. tomatoes (about 4 medium vine tomatoes)
1/2 English cucumber (or 1 regular cucumber)
1 orange bell pepper (or 1/2 red pepper and 1/2 green pepper)
1/2 red onion
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, plus more as needed

Cut all the vegetables into large chunks.
Add everything to the jar of a blender. Pulse until vegetables are cut into small pieces.
Blend for a few seconds until mixture reaches desired consistency.
Taste mixture; add more salt or vinegar if more "tang" is needed.
Pour into serving bowls and drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top of each bowl.

Verdict?  Refreshing veggie goodness.   It is good to serve right away or can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.  Note that the garlic flavor will intensify after a while.  But that's a good thing.  Serve this as a starter or along with something salty (and maybe crunchy?) for a light meal.  A very light meal - one serving weighs in at less than 80 calories.  Enjoy!