This past week has been super hot. Each day has been in the mid to high 80's or low 90's, and only getting down to the 70's at night. It's hard for me to want to eat and cook (or anything else) when it is that hot. I know it will only stay this way or get worse, so I figured we needed to start acclimating, and that gazpacho would help!
My Mom used to make gazpacho in the end of the summer when we realized that there were way to many tomatoes and cucumbers for us to put on salads or sandwiches. I remember taking a large yogurt container full of this cool raw soup to football practice/training in August, and that it was always super refreshing.
Since we don't have a garden, Greg and I ventured out to the local farmers market this morning to gather our bounty. I figured that there would be a noticeable difference between store bought tomatoes and the farmers market ones, but I had no idea just how much better they would be! There was so much meat on these baseball and larger sized tom's that you could have easily eaten one like an apple! They were just wonderful!
Staying to form, I browsed as many gazpacho recipes that I could find, and saw that there are really only three main ingredients: tomato, garlic, and bread. Yes, bread; I don't remember my Mom putting any in hers, but every other recipe calls for bread! Other common ingredients included: cucumber, bell pepper, cumin and paprika. Celery, jicama, and jalapeños were listed on several recipes, but I don't like that the celery flavor overpowers other more subtle flavors, so I opted to not use any. My end result is really not so much a true recipe, but a "technique" as my Mom would say.
The end result was pretty good. I like that the bread adds texture and substance to the soup, without changing any flavors. Next time I would put more cucumber and less Worcester sauce, but try to keep everything else about the same.
2 pieces of bread
5lbs of tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1 red bell pepper
3 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 C. of tomato juice (I'm sure V- 8 would also work fine!)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp Worcester sauce (I recommend using less, though)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Chop up half of the tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper. Keep skins, juices and seeds. Place into a large pot. Thinly slice the garlic and add to the vegetables. Tear apart both pieces of bread and add to the vegetables. Add the tomato juice, paprika, cumin, Worcester sauce, salt and black pepper. Blend this mix until it has formed a smooth puree.
-Finely chop the remaining vegetables. Add to the puree. Chill and serve cold. Stirring a spoon full of sour cream through the soup is also a delicious garnish.