Gazpacho to the Rescue
The heat this week continues. It’s been hot, in the 90s by day, slightly cooler, though still warm at night. Howard’s fixed up a complicated system of fans that has kept the house reasonably comfortable. In the evenings, we’ve gone out to do errands, driving around in the convertible with the top down. What a life!
I’m still trying to avoid heating up the kitchen, but going out to eat is never quite as satisfying as eating at home.
A bowl of gazpacho is just the right thing for this kind of weather. No cooking required. I’m sure my recipe is far from authentic, but it hits the spot. I’ve making it since I was in high school though I’ve changed it over time.
One of the problems with gazpacho is that, here in New England, local tomatoes aren’t ripe as early as the hot weather sets in. A few years ago, in a recipe from a flyer I picked up at Whole Foods, I found an answer to that problem – canned whole tomatoes. Admittedly, it’s not the same as fresh tomatoes, but it certainly gives an early summer option for consistently good cold soup.
Here’s my game plan: In the morning, before I leave for work, I puree the tomatoes and seasonings in the blender. Then I put the puree in the refrigerator to chill for the day. When I get home, I chop up the vegetables, stir them in to the puree, and, voila, refreshing soup for dinner.
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes with juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp Tabasco
Generous handful of fresh basil leaves
1 red or green pepper
½ cup chopped red onion
Salt & pepper to taste
Add tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire, Tabasco and herbs in the blender. Puree until smooth. At this point, you can chill the puree before continuing.
Peel the cucumber. Cut it in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard. Chop the remaining flesh into ¼-inch cubes. Cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds, Chop into ¼-inch cubes.
Combine the chopped vegetables (cucumber, pepper, and onion) into the tomato puree. Season to taste.
For a Mexican-flavored variation, I user lime juice instead of vinegar, ½ diced jalapeno for the Tabasco, cilantro for the basil leaves, and 2-3 sliced scallions for the onions.