It seems to me as though gazpacho is one of those love it or hate it kinds of food. Lots of people either don’t like the taste of raw tomatoes or aren’t into cold soups. I actually like gazpacho, but can sometimes get weirded out by the texture, especially if it is extra mealy.
That said this Jose Andres recipe is so incredibly good that it just might be able to turn gazpacho haters into lovers. With tomatoes at their juicy peak right now, this is the perfect time to enjoy some gazpacho. This recipe makes enough soup for 6 people at $1.20 per serving.
For the soup:
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup Oloroso sherry (use extra sherry vinegar if you don’t have any real sherry on hand)
3/4 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
For the garnish:
2 1 inch-thick slices rustic bread
1/4 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Sea salt to taste
The tomatoes that we have been buying from our farmers’ market have just been out of this world lately. Since the tomatoes are the key to a successful gazpacho, be sure to use the freshest and ripest tomatoes you can find. Often times the dreaded mealy texture, or even worse an insipid colour, are the result of using flavourless tomatoes.
To make the gazpacho, combine the cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, sherry, olive oil, and 2 cups of water in a food processor or blender. Puree the ingredients until everything is well blended into a thick pink liquid.
You might have to do this in a few batches depending on the size of your blender. If you do have to do this, don’t worry too much about halving the batches exactly, especially with the liquid ingredients. Everything gets mixed together at the end and you can easily add more olive oil or vinegar to taste at this point. I definitely recommend tasting along the way and adding more oil or vinegar as needed. Making gazpacho is a pretty intuitive process so use your taste buds as your guide.
Pour the gazpacho through a medium-hole strainer into a container, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
The straining of the soup is a brilliant idea and one that you don’t often see in many gazpacho recipes. Straining the gazpacho gets rid of the possible dreaded texture issues and results in a silky and smooth soup.
To make the garnish, preheat the oven to 450 F. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and toss in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Set the croutons aside to cool. You can also make these croutons in a toaster oven too. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
To serve, pour the chilled gazpacho into bowls. Top with the croutons, cucumbers, and peppers. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil.
What makes this gazpacho so amazing is the combination of the silky soup and the crunchiness of the cut veggies and the crispy croutons. In fact, I think the croutons might be the most genius part of this recipe. Many gazpacho recipes call for the bread to be blended with all the vegetables, which only serves to thicken the soup and doesn’t really add much flavour. These croutons however are the tipping point in me probably never making another other gazpacho recipe again since this one is perfect in every way.