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Spanish Gazpacho


The tomatoes are beautiful and ripe. The cucumbers and peppers are coming in by the bushel, and it is still hot out there. How about gazpacho for a hot summer night?

Here is a quick soup to take advantage of August produce and, more importantly, one to make without turning on your stove. Pour it into a thermos, bring some mugs, grab a baguette and take it to a park or up to a rooftop to watch the shooting summer stars.

You need

2 slices of crustless white bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry
1 pound ripe tasty tomatoes, chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
6 ice cubes
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional garnishes:
Chopped egg
Diced red onion
Diced cucumber
Diced tomatoes
Fresh herbs

To make 4-6 servings

Put all the ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender and blend until completely smooth, then gradually add oil in a slow stream (if your blender is small you might have to make the gazpacho in 2 batches).

Force the soup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing firmly on the solids. Discard the solids (soup ladles are great for the job). Season with salt and pepper. You want the soup to be both tangy and sweet with enough salt to balance the flavors. This gazpacho should have the consistency of heavy cream, adjust with a little ice water if you need to.

Transfer to a glass pitcher and chill, covered, until very very cold.

Re-season with salt and vinegar before serving. Serve with the garnishes on the side so everyone can add to their own bowl as they please.


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