Gazpacho

Gazpacho

My friend Angela, speaking little to no English, relocated from Spain to the USA in the early ’90s with her husband. We discovered each other at a local fast food joint while our children played together in the ball pit. Our first “conversation” was held with a great deal of effort, using a lot of pen and paper and big hand gestures. One visit led to another, and over time we became close friends, sharing some of our favorite foods. In Angela’s part of Spain, gazpacho (gahz-PAH-cho) is served year round as both a cool drink and a cold soup.

This is my take on her family favorite.

  • GAZPACHO
  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
WHAT YOU NEED WHAT TO DO WHY
1 slice bread (about 1 ounce) Tear bread into pieces; place in a blender or food processor. Bread acts as a thickener.
Placing bread close to the blades promotes blending.
2-3 green or red Serrano peppers (1 ounce), stemmed/seeded
5-6 sweet basil leaves (⅛ ounce)
Add to blender.

Tip: For Serranos, wear plastic gloves. Cut off stems and discard; quarter lengthwise. Remove seeds or pale membrane still attached.

Hot pepper oils/seeds burn unprotected skin. Membranes are unattractive in the soup.
4 cups (32 ounces) peeled and puréed canned tomato
3 ounces chopped white or yellow onion
Add to blender.

Tip: With onion on its side, cut off and discard stem and root. Cut in half from pole to pole; discard dry or tough layers. Place cut sides down and slice parallel to the equator to 1 inch, holding pieces together as you work. Cut across slices to chop.

Finding tasty fresh beefsteak style tomatoes can be difficult. Holding slices together reduces exposure to eye-irritants.
5 ounces chopped red bell pepper, no substitutions Add to blender.

Tip: Place pepper on end; cut off sides. Remove any seeds or pale membrane still attached. Cut 1-inch slices; cut across slices to chop.

Red peppers add natural sweetness and intensify gazpacho color. Flat pepper pieces are easy to chop.
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon roughly ground black pepper

Add all to blender; pulse just until combined. Chill at 3-10 hours before serving.

Tip: After separating a garlic clove from the head, cut off the root end. Place the broad side of a chef’s knife on top; strike with your fist or palm. Release skin and discard.

Time brings the flavors together, and chilling makes gazpacho more refreshing.
A dozen small sweet basil leaves
Toasted bread
Top each serving with basil and serve with toasted bread on the side.  

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