Too Darn Hot

Dinner:  July 9, 2007

After spending far too much time yesterday on steamy city sidewalks and even steamier subway platforms, the very last thing I wanted to do when I got home from work was stand over a hot stove. So what’s a girl to do when she wants to sup with her baby but doesn’t want to cook? She makes gazpacho, of course.

This is an incredibly simple soup to put together, and it comes together in almost no time. I make mine in the blender, but you could certainly use a food processor or immersion blender to get a similar result. I certainly don’t claim that this is an authentic gazpacho, but I really like the combination of flavors in this version.

To start, I tore some crusty bread into small chunks until I had about 2 cups worth. I sprinkled a pinch of salt over the bread, then poured about 1/2 cup of Sherry vinegar over the bread chunks, tossed them, and set them aside to soften. I roughly chopped a small head of Rocambole garlic (as well as the scape that was attached) and half a red onion, and placed them in my mini-chopper. I pulsed them until they were finely diced and set them aside.

The real “meat” of this soup is the veggies – I cored and chunked up three large really ripe tomatoes and two bell peppers (one orange and one yellow), and chopped up two Kirby cucumbers. I added half of the chopped veggies to the blender, along with half of the onion/garlic mixture, half of the bread, a healthy pinch of salt and half of the soaked bread mixture. I poured in about a cup of vegetable juice (I use Knudsen Very Veggie), lidded it up and pureed the soup. I poured the puree out into a large deep bowl and repeated this with the remaining veggies, onion/garlic mixture, bread, and another cup of juice.

Once my two batches of puree were in the bowl, I stirred in about 1/3 cup of olive oil, and seasoned the soup with a healthy amount of smoked Spanish paprika and Chipotle powder – many gazpacho recipes call for using fresh chiles, but I prefer the smokiness and depth of the Chipotle powder to the straight heat of chiles. I tasted the soup and adjusted the seasoning by adding a bit more salt and vinegar, then I covered it and let it chill for half an hour or so – just enough time for me to head out to the garden with a glass of chilled rose and watch the fireflies.

When the soup was lightly chilled, I ladled it into bowls and served it with a couple slices of cheese toast on the side – a light and refreshing supper to end a sweltering day.

13 thoughts on “Too Darn Hot

  1. Sounds wonderful. It’s been years since I’ve had gazpacho and now you have me craving it! This recipe sounds easy enough! I didn’t realize there was bread in it, is that just for thickness?

    You should submit this recipe to 🙂

  2. Jennifer Hess says:

    Sara and Hillary, thank you!

    I used to make a really chunky gazpacho without the bread, but sometimes I felt more like I was eating spoonfuls of salsa… 🙂 The bread gives the soup a really nice body and texture when it’s pureed, and it does thicken the soup a bit as it sits. Definitely give it a try!

    Hillary, how do I go about submitting my recipe?

  3. All you need to do is register (it’s free) in the top righthand corner, and then sign in and click “submit a recipe” next to the search bar. Let me know if you have any problems, but our site would LOVE to have your recipes! I’m a frequent reader and I know you’d have a ton of great contributions 🙂

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  5. I haven’t eaten gazpacho yet. It looks a nice soup for a muggy day. and The light, It looks like Japanese(or Chinese?) lantern, we call it “Chouchin”. I think it’s a nice goods to avoid a sweltering day too, isn’t it?

  6. This sounds lovely, Jennifer. And it reminds me we need to be making gazpacho too. Also loved the Cole Porter reference—very cool for a hot night.

  7. I hope you had a nice cold glass of fino with it. Cold enough for the glass to frost. Oh yes.

    Ever tried white gazpacho? The one with almonds in it, that you serve with halved green grapes? Yum.

  8. Jennifer Hess says:

    Stu, unfortunately we are currently out of sherry! But yes, that would have been a great accompaniment. We did have a chilled Spanish white, the name of which escapes me.

    I have not had white gazpacho, but it is something I’ve been intrested in trying. If you have a favorite recipe to share I’d love to see it. 🙂

  9. White gazpacho from Malaga, courtesy of Sam and Sam Clark of the Moro restaurant in Farringdon.

    To serve 4:

    225g whole blanched almonds
    750ml iced water
    75g stale white bread, crusts removed, soaked in water
    3 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with 1tsp sea salt
    3 tbsp olive oil
    3 tbsps sherry vinegar
    200g white grapes, preferably moscatel (muscat)
    salt and black pepper

    Grind the almonds as fine as possible in a food processor (or anything else that’ll grind them) – they should stick to the side of the machine. Loosen the ground nuts, then add 5tbsp of the water and turn the machine back on until the mixture has formed a paste just thick enough to turn in on itself. Then squeeze the bread of excess water, and add to the almonds with the garlic paste. Mix until smooth. Add the olive oil, then with the motor running, add the rest of the water until the consistency is like single cream. Transfer to a bowl and add sherry vinegar and salt to taste. The vinegar should balance out the garlic and almonds.
    The recipe says to chill for six hours, but just make sure it’s very cold. Just before serving, check the seasoning again, and float some halved grapes in it.

    Make sure the fino’s nice and cold, and if you have some good Andalusian jamon knocking around, so much the better.

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