Drink your vegetables: Chilled Gazpacho
Spanish in origin, this refreshing chilled soup is lovely in the summer when tomatoes are ripe and sweet and vegetables are crisp and tender. I serve it on hot days and even the skeptics and the less adventurous fall for it every time. Gazpacho is easy to make, there is no cooking involved and the ingredient list is quite flexible. Today I made this with vine riped tomatoes from the local market, small cucumbers, tender yellow summer squash, red bell pepper and red onion, all cut into fine dice and suspended in chilled tomato juice. You can spice it up with chopped jalapeño or another hot pepper and add herbal notes with a handful of cilantro or parsley. Don’t forget to squeeze a lime or two into the soup, that’s a must (or lemons). I made the gazpacho right into the glass pitcher you see in the image (I don’t like to mess up the kitchen with too many dishes). I bought the dishes in the image in Kelowna at the beautiful Lake House, a home Store, a beautiful retail lifestyle store on Bernard and Ellis specializing in gorgeous kitchen, home and gift items. I never leave their store empty handed (why would I?) and the staff is so lovely and friendly. Check out their website here. Back to the recipe: I didn’t puree the gazpacho this time although I sometimes puree some of it (not all) with a hand held immersion blender. Suit yourself. What can you serve it with? Grill a few slices of good bread and top with bean dip (recipe here) or top the bread with a few slices of just-ripe avocado. Serve with fleur de sel for sprinkling on top of the chilled soup and the bread. Also: you can serve them in verrines (small shooter type glasses) as an appetizer. Chill out.
4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 summer cucumbers seeded and finely diced
1 yellow summer squash, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
3-4 cups tomato juice (or use V8)
1-2 limes, juice squeezed
Salt and pepper
Optional: 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup parsley or cilantro, chopped
Cut the tomatoes in half around the circumference. Hold each half over the sink and gently squeeze out the seeds. Repeat with remaining tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into fine dice and place in a bowl or a pitcher.
Add the finely diced onion and mix.
Cut the cucumbers into thin slices, then into vertical strips and then into fine dice. Add to the tomatoes.
Add the finely diced yellow summer squash and red bell pepper. If you use hot pepper add it now.
Pour tomato juice over the vegetables and mix.
Squeeze one or two limes or lemons over and mix. Taste after one lime before you add the second.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Be sure to taste it because depending on the type of tomato juice you use it may already have enough salt.
Mix the gazpacho and refrigerate until nicely chilled. Just before serving add the cilantro or parsley.
Serve cold in glass bowls or pretty glasses.