Gazpacho and I have a thing this summer. How did I never see in it what I do now? I used to compare it to ‘just like drinking a jar of salsa – yuck!’, but now I see it’s so far beyond that. Light, refreshing, complex, pure, and wonderful. Like drinking my summer garden. For breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. Topped with herbed croutons, fancy ceviche, or nothing. I love it, and I love that it helps me keep any of my precious garden tomatoes from going to waste.
Working on an organic farm this summer as well as having 6 plants of my own to tend, you could say I’ve picked my fair share of ‘maters this season. And just look at all the varieties! Each has their own flavor, texture and purpose. Many are heirlooms, which are so flavor-packed and meaty they’re just crying out to be part of a mean BLT. I’ll admit some look pretty darn ugly on the outside. But it’s the inside beauty that counts, right?
I’ve made gazpacho (Spanish chilled tomato soup) maybe 6 times in the past few weeks, enjoying it as an on-the-go breakfast, as a cool refresher after working outside, eating bowls-full for lunch & dinner, and taking it to a cookout for friends to enjoy. Each time I make it is a little different, as I don’t follow a strict recipe and always use a mishmash of tomato varieties. But it’s hard to mess up too bad, unless of course you mistake jalapeños for bell peppers. Here’s my top secret recipe, now go put summer’s bounty to good use!
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 to 1 whole jalapeño (depending on desired heat), deseeded + chopped
- 6-10 tomatoes of all varieties, halved or quartered if large
- 1 medium-sized cucumber, peeled + chopped into large chunks
- 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped into large chunks
- 1/2 red or white onion, chopped into large chunks
- 1/2 cup cilantro (including stems), chopped a few times
- good splash of vinegar
- good splash of extra virgin olive oil
- salt + pepper to taste
Start by pulsing the garlic, jalapeño and one tomato in a food processor until it is all chopped finely. Add other ingredients except salt + pepper and pulse several times until you have your desired consistency – I like mine still a bit chunky. Add salt + pepper to taste and pulse again to blend. Pour into a large jar or bowl and refrigerate until you serve. Buen provecho!
Enjoy & happy tomato season! –mich