Gazpacho

Leslie H

This time of year there is nothing better than fresh tomatoes. If they are not from your garden, go to your farmers market and get a variety of heirloom tomatoes–they are spectacular right now. The funnier looking the juicier! I have changed this recipe so much from a Cook’s recipe I feel I can call it my own.

Ingredients:

3 lbs. (about 6 medium) ripe tomatoes, cored

1 English cucumber, peeled a bit, halved and seeded

1 medium green pepper, cored and roughly chopped ( I don’t care for green peppers but the flavor is necessary in this recipe)

1 small red onion, peeled and quartered

4 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered

1 small Serrano chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise (leaving the seeds in will make it hotter!)

kosher salt

1 slice high quality sandwich bread, crust removed torn into 1-inch piece (I used a ciabatta loaf and a GF bread would work fine)

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving

2 T. red wine vinager

2 T. finely minced parsley, chives or basil

Instructions:

1. roughly chop tomatoes, 3/4 of the cucumber, peppers, onion, and garlic and place in a large colander over a bowl. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and toss until well combined. Set aside for 1 hour.

2. finely chop remaining cucumber and set aside. This will be mixed into the soup when it is finished.

3. Transfer drained vegetables to a medium bowl and set aside. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid (there should be about 1/4 cup) and soak for 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid to vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.

4. Transfer vegetable-bread mixture to blender or cuisinart and process 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in oil and continue to blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. This may need to be done in batches depending on you blender or cuisinart size.  Strain soup through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl, using back of ladle or rubber spatula to press soup through strainer. Add vinegar and adjust seasonings.

5. Add reserved chopped cucumbers and garnish with chives, basil or parsley and drizzle with a dash more oil.

This serves approximately 4-6 and could be served in cute little shooter glasses as an appetizer.

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