Tuesday, August 16, 2016
It's f-ing hot. Not just hot but humid, muggy, and all around awful. I just want to sit in a pool with an icy cocktail and a good book.
In this weather, food just isn't appealing which is why I've found myself consuming gazpacho with abandon. Gazpacho is one of those things you either love or hate. I personally love it. It's refreshing yet satisfying, the way watermelon and ice cream is when the temperature are nearing 100 degrees.
This particular gazpacho recipe is my go-to and has been for the last couple of years (it's a good way to use up any tomatoes that are nearing the end of their life). The addition of smoked paprika, sherry vinegar, and olive oil results in an incredibly flavorful and well-rounded soup that I can't get enough of. It makes for a perfect summer starter but I have no problem consuming a bowl of it as my meal.
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats
The original recipe is a little finiky since it has you freeze the vegetables so thee soup, after being blended, is already chilled and ready to eat. I omit those steps and just place the soup in the fridge for an hour to chill it (a lazy person's approach and I'm ok with that). I omit the onion because I loathe the flavor of raw red onion - if you aren't opposed to it, feel free to add it in. Also I added in a little smoked Spanish paprika because I love that flavor with sherry vinegar and tomatoes.
3 pounds (about 4 large) very ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
1/2 pound (about 1 small) cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
1/3 pound (about 1 small) small red onion, peeled and cut into rough 1-inch chunks (optional)
1/3 pound (about 1 medium) green or red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 ounces (about 2 slices) white sandwich, French, or Italian bread, crusts removed, torn into rough 1-inch pieces (see note)
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (spicy or sweet)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons finely minced chives
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion (if using), pepper, garlic, salt, and bread in a large bowl and toss to coat thoroughly. Let sit at room temperature for 30 - 45 minutes.
Working in two batches as necessary, blend vegetables, juices, and bread at high speed, slowly drizzling olive oil and sherry vinegar into blender as it blends. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and add the smoked paprika. Place the soup in the fridge until cool. Serve, drizzling each bowl with olive oil, a few sprinkles of sherry vinegar, extra cracked black pepper, and chives. Gazpacho can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.