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.
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
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.
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