While driving the other day, my daughter and I pulled over into a roadside farm stand. There was the sweetest and most adorable older woman proudly arranging her tomatoes. For every basket my eyes landed on, she’d say, “Go ahead and try one!” That sweet lady knows exactly what she’s doing. I walked away with more tomatoes than I knew what to do with! I’m a sucker for a sweet face and for summery sweet tomatoes
I owe her, though. She gave me an excuse to finally make gazpacho. A chilled tomato soup that I could eat every day. I haven’t made it in ages because…well…my family says they don’t like it. I made it anyway.
Gazpacho has so many variations. I’d eat any one of them. Although, I will say, recipes calling for tomato juice…hmmm…not so much. I mean, the beauty of gazpacho is its bright fresh flavors…using bottle tomato juice makes no sense. I’ve interpreted my own idea of gazpacho many times, but this…this is my favorite. This recipe is based on the authentic preparation of gazpacho, but with a twist or two. Authentic Andalusian gazpacho, where it originates, uses bread to give the soup body and subtle flavor. The bread is traditionally soaked with water for about thirty minutes then drained before being processed with the tomatoes. I omit the water and instead, use the juices from the tomato. It’s wonderful, fresh, summery, and filling. I’m in love with this recipe.
And guess what? So is my family.
3 to 4 1″ slices of a crusty baguette (See Notes)
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored and cut in half
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
finely diced avocado
finely diced cucumber
finely diced red onion
grape or cherry tomato slices
a few sprigs of fresh lemon thyme (try regular thyme or basil if you’d like)
freshly ground black pepper
a squeeze of fresh lime
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Place the bread slices in a medium bowl topped with a fine mesh sieve. Squeeze the tomato halves over the sieve to remove the seeds and allow the juices to run into the bowl with the bread. Place the tomatoes into the pitcher of your blender as you work. Press the seeds and any pulp through the sieve using a rubber spatula or your hands. Allow the bread to soak in the tomato juice for about 20 to 30 minutes.
In two or more batches, process the tomatoes, the bread and the rest of the ingredients in the blender on its highest speed until smooth. Pour each batch into a large serving bowl. Once done, use a whisk to bring it all together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with your favorites!
Adapted from Gazpacho Andaluz | Saveur