Summer has arrived in Vermont. It’s 83 degrees in the shade. At the farmers’ market, I saw the biggest Spanish onion I have ever seen. After the farmer assured me that no steroids had been used, she went on to say that the onions were sweet and mild. I thought, “Perfect for gazpacho,” that wonderful raw, Spanish soup served cold. Plans for dinner came together quickly, along with the tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers I needed for the soup I chose three curried vegetable samosas from the “Taste of Africa” booth and headed home.
Although many cooks use a food processor or blender to make a uniform soup I like the taste and appearance of hand cut vegetables. Here’s how I did it:
This is a simple, combine until it taste right, recipe. I cut the vegetables into small dice, a bit smaller than a quarter of an inch. In a large bowl I combined two large tomatoes (peeled and cored), two medium cucumbers (partially peeled), two medium green bell peppers (seeded), a handful of fresh parsley from the garden (chopped fine), one small clove of finely minced garlic, a large can of chilled tomato juice, a couple of tablespoons each of olive oil and red wine vinegar, a teaspoon of kosher salt and a generous grind of black pepper. The half cup of diced onions sat in a bowl of salted ice water for ten minutes to get rid of the strong after taste of raw onions, before being rinsed, drained and tossed into the bowl.
With everything in, I stirred the soup, tasted it and corrected the seasoning. For this batch, I added more salt and more vinegar. Garlic taste grows with time so, even though the garlic flavor was understated, I didn’t add more. Half an hour in the fridge for the flavors to blend and then we enjoyed a simple, summer dinner of warm samosas and crunchy, refreshing, summery gazpacho.
Note: This is another recipe that can be modified to suit your palate, your pantry, and your garden. A batch made in the food processor will be different than a batch made with hand cut vegetables, not better or worse, just different.
You might want to add a bit of diced jalapeno pepper, scallions, chives or red onion work in place of Spanish onions, fresh basil or dried oregano can be used along with or instead of parsley. Gazpacho can be served topped with croutons. Traditional Spanish recipes often include slices of stale bread, soften in water and then drained before being stirred into the soup.
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- 2 large tomatoes
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 green bell peppers
- a handful of fresh parsley
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 large can tomato juice
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 T red wine vinegar
- 1 t kosher salt
- a generous grind of black pepper