Friday, September 03, 2010

Classic Gazpacho

It's still hot, hot, hot. But there are plenty of tomatoes, cukes and peppers at the farmer's market. So it's time to skip the stove and make this classic bracing cold soup. This is a basic recipe taken from the great reference cookbook The New Best Recipe. I've posted it here as is. But tune in tomorrow for some ways to kick it up with a few extra ingredients and an interesting garnish or two.

Classic Gazpacho
Serves 8-10.

(Hint: One of these makes the slicing and dicing MUCH easier.)

3 medium ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), cored and cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 medium red bell peppers, cored and cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 small cucumbers, one peeled and the other with skin on, both seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 large shallots, minced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
Ground black pepper
5 cups tomato juice (Blogger's Note: Kick it up a notch with Spicy Hot V-8 if you'd like.)
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
8 ice cubes

Combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onion, garlic, salt, vinegar, and black pepper to taste in a large nonreactive bowl. Let stand until the vegetables just begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato juice, hot pepper sauce, and ice cubes. Cover tightly and refrigerate to blend the flavors, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste and remove and discard any unmelted ice cubes.

Serve cold, drizzling with extra-virgin olive oil if desired.

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