This summer has been one of the hottest in many years and with the mercury continuing to rise, this bloggers kitchen has all but shut down. So this week I'm beating the heat with a cool selection of fresh summer veggies in this tasty Gazpacho soup. Gazpacho has been a long time nemesis for me but this most recent attempt has been a pleasant surprise and one I am excited to share.
Gazpacho is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup from the southern region of Andalusia. Some think the soup evolved from a Moorish dish of bread, olive oil garlic and water and many recipes still call for stale bread as an ingredient. This is the part where my head starts to spin and I lose my mind. No matter how hard I try or how closely I follow the directions I can not get a gazpacho that includes bread to taste good...not at all. So I started looking for other options and came up with a few good prospects including the recipe I adapted for this week's blog. The original was from Food Network's Alton Brown, but I made a few changes to fit my own tastes. There are tons of ideas out there and many branch out into very different ingredients including numerous fruits and more exotic vegetables.
The most important thing to keep in mind when making this soup is to make sure you have the best fresh produce available. If your ingredients taste fantastic your soup will too!
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 lime zested and juiced
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bunch minced cilantro
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp Tomato paste (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (for garnish)
Prepare the cucumber first and sprinkle with salt to draw out some of the liquid and remove any bitterness. Prepare the rest of the vegetables and after reserving a small amount to add back in later for texture, place remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour completed puree into a bowl , add in the reserved veggies and cover. Chill soup for two hours before serving to allow flavors to develop. When you are ready to serve, garnish with a drizzle of good quality olive oil, a bit of basil and a slice of tomato.
This refreshing soup is perfect for a light lunch or a tasty first course on a hot summer night. Enjoy!