Thursday, September 15, 2011


This past weekend I hosted the September dinner for my dinner group.  As the years go on it's harder and harder to come up with new themes without repeating some.  I am still going to keep trying to find something unique each time!  My theme was "California Cuisine".  I know it really seems vague but what I found through my research is that "California Cuisine" is basically fresh local ingredients that are cooked simply.  Some of the foods that are commonly found in this type of cuisine are avocados, artichokes, almonds, citrus fruits, figs, seafood, etc.

Since it's the end of summer and there are still quite a bit of heirloom tomatoes I thought a great dish that would embody fresh and simple cuisine would be gazpacho.  I haven't had a ton of cold soups and I never had gazpacho before deciding to make it for this dinner.  I wasn't sure what to expect so I tried this out a week before the dinner.  I found from following the recipe that 1) only 1 clove of garlic is needed.  As this soup sits (as suggested) the garlic can really overpower the other flavors and be quite unpleasant.  2) As great as this is I can't imagine 4 people consuming that much cold soup.  2 pounds of tomatoes is way too much.  3) I can understand why this often served in shot sized glasses.  A little goes a long way.

All that being said I really did enjoy this and so did my guests.  I cut down the tomatoes to 1 pound, used only 2 slices of bread, 1 clove of garlic, half of an onion., used 2/3 of a yellow pepper.  I served diced avocado, yellow pepper and cucumber for toppings.  The ladies enjoyed the crunch it added to the soup.

Anne Burrell

Total Time:    1 hr 30 min Prep    30 min Inactive  1 hr 0 min
Yield:    4 servings


    8 slices white bread, crusts removed, bread broken into big chunks
    2 pounds tomatoes, seeded
    1 English cucumber, peeled
    1 large white onion
    1 green bell pepper, seeds and pith removed
    2 garlic cloves, smashed
    Kosher salt
    High quality extra-virgin olive oil
    2 to 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
    1/2 cup to 1 cup tomato juice, if needed


For the soup:

Soak the bread, in a medium bowl of water to soften, about 15 to 20 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and place in a large bowl. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, 2/3 of the cucumber, 1/2 the onion, and 1/2 the pepper and add to the bread. Add the garlic, season with salt, and drizzle with olive oil. Mix to combine and let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry and to let the salt pull some moisture out of the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, for the garnish, dice the remaining cucumber, onion and green pepper into perfect 1/4-inch dice and reserve.

Working in batches, puree the tomato/bread mixture in a blender with the vinegar. Blend in tomato juice to loosen the mixture, if needed. Remove soup to a large bowl and stir in about 1/2 cup of high quality olive oil. Taste for salt and add more, if needed.

Chill. Serve cold garnished with the diced cucumber, pepper and onion. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, if desired.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.


Nelly said...

I have never ever ever tried gazpacho, the whole idea of cold soup weirds me out a little.

Does it not just taste like soup that should be warm?

Educate me Michelle! LOL

All Things Yummy said...

I love gazpacho. It's such a refreshing dish to serve on a hot day. I haven't tried Burell's version yet, but I like the diea of adding bread.

Patti T. said...

Serving this in a shot glass is a wonderful idea. I have heard of using bread to thicken hot things but never thought of using it in a cold soup. I learn so much from you.

Michele said...

Nelly - You crack me up. I would say it tastes like pureed salsa. Does that help?

ATY - It was my first and really enjoyed it!

Patti - You're a doll! Thank you!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Never having made gazpacho, I just made it last week with all the tomatoes and peppers I was trying to use up from the garden. It was nearly the same recipe as yours and I included diced avocado on top too. I agree with you - a little goes a long way.

Kim said...

This looks delicious. I've never tried Gazpacho either, but this looks wonderful. I featured it on my blog, I'd love for you to stop by and grab a button if you like!

Pam said...

I think it looks and sounds delicious and refreshing.

Cathy W said...

It's been years since I had gazpacho...your's looks fabulous! I do know what you mean about coming up with fresh ideas for dinner club. After 12 years, I'm starting to repeat...