Summer is for sunshine, and picnics, and lazy long days of lounging. It's for eating all of that gorgeously jewel-toned fresh stuff. And it's for cooking with as minimal heat and maximum enjoyment as possible.
Summer, late July summer, is for gazpacho.
Tomatoes remind me of my grandmother, from whom I learned the pure bliss of a fabulous tomato sandwich. Cut a slice or two of perfect, sun-ripened, just-picked-from-the-garden tomato, put it on a slice of perfectly toasted country bread that's been smeared with mayonnaise, and bite. You better be leaning over a plate, or have a bib on, or be ready with a napkin, as the juices of gorgeousness will run down your chin.
This soup is less likely to result in chin-wiping, but just as likely to elicit weird noises of joy.
Try it. You won't regret a single chop.
GAZPACHO: serves 8
- 3+ large, in-season ripe tomatoes (DO NOT MAKE THIS WITH INSIPID, MIDWINTER TOMATOES)
- 2 cucumbers, 1 peeled and one not, both seeded
- 2 peppers (red or orange or yellow. Not green, please), seeds out
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/2 a sweet onion, minced finely
- 1/3 c vinegar (sherry or red wine - balsamic will overpower)
- 3+ good dashes of Tabasco
- 1 quart tomato juice + 1 cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Chop all the veggies into relatively even chops. You'll get a mouthful of this, so don't make the chops too big. You can also do this in a food processor or a blender - the texture will be very different but the flavor will still be on point.
2. Mix all veggies together in a large bowl. Stir in the vinegar, then the Tabasco. Pour in the tomato juice and the water.
3. Let chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours or up to 2 days. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and some yummy croutons!