Oh my! We are now less than two weeks away from Labour Day. Summer is flying by and already the mornings here in Toronto are getting cooler…I saw my first leaf drop yesterday when I was out walking the pup.
With this, I realized that I had not made gazpacho yet this summer, which is one of my summer stand-bys. Thing have been busy and actually, when you think about it, late August / early September is a great time for this recipe as it relies on fresh tomatoes as a base.
One of the reasons I love gazpacho – beyond the fact that it is so easy because everything is just thrown in a blender or food processor – is that you can adjust it in so many ways: making it creamy with the addition of bread crumbs and/or almonds, varying the ratios of tomatoes to cucumber and peppers, levels of seasoning, types of garnishes, etc. And if you are in the mood to clear out the vegetable crisper, it is a great way to extend the use of the vegetables you have on hand.
Regardless of the recipe you follow, or the ingredients you are working with, I believe that there are a few key things to creating a great gazpacho: ripe luscious vegetables, good quality olive oil and excellent sherry vinegar (believe me, the vinegar is what will make this dish sing!).
I don’t normally make a creamy gazpacho but had some bread crumbs to be used up along with some almonds in the pantry so here’s the recipe I used last night. It seems like there are many steps but, trust me, this doesn’t take more than about 15 minutes in total to prepare.
Gazpacho (for tw0)
1. Coarsely chop one red pepper (after seeding).
2. Coarsely chop one cucumber. I used a field cucumber which I peeled and then seeded before chopping but you could use an English cucumber as long as you peel it before chopping.
3. Coarsely chop 1/2 of a medium-sized red onion.
4. Coarsely chop 3 large tomatoes after peeling. The easiest way to do this is to make an X mark with a knife at the base of each tomato, place in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. After two minutes, rinse the tomatoes in cold water and the skins should slip off easily.
5. Combine the pepper, cucumber, red onion and tomatoes in a blender or food processor along with 75 grams of bread crumbs and 35 grams of toasted almonds. (You can easily leave out the bread & almonds). Pulse until smooth.
6. Add 50 mL of good quality olive oil, 1.5 tbs of sherry vinegar, and then salt & pepper to taste. Pulse again.
7. Chill for at least two hours and then serve. I used diced avocado as a garnish but you could also use parsley, croutons, cilantro…whatever takes your fancy.
As I said above, there are so many versions of gazpacho…what are your favourites?