I’m not sure how the temperature is where you are right now, but in my apartment it’s brutally hot. One of my favorite dishes for hot days is gazpacho, the cold, zesty Spanish tomato soup. It’s beautifully refreshing, doesn’t heat up your kitchen, and can easily be made in advance — in fact, a day or two in the fridge tends to improve it.
There are a couple conflicting theories about the proper way to make gazpacho — the first (and more traditional way) is to finely blend all the contents, resulting in a sort of V8-esque soup, and the second is to coarsely chop all the vegetables, ending up with sort of crispy vegetable salad drowning in tomato juice. I’m a fan of both approaches, but I always prefer a hybrid approach. We’re going to dice all the veggies as if we were going to make a coarse gazpacho, but then blend only half of them. Sneaky!
Also, rather than starting with a tomato juice style approach, I like to take a Bloody Mary-ish approach to the liquid portion, giving the whole thing a bit more of a substantial backbone and complementing the tomato flavor with the acidity of lime juice and savoriness of Worcestershire. Mmm!
Bear in mind that gazpacho is also pretty freeform — the combo of vegetables I’m about to describe makes a tasty dish, but experimenting with different flavors can yield equally tasty or tastier results!
Without further ado, let’s get down to it:
- One 48oz bottle tomato juice (I use Whole Foods 365)
- 6 tomatoes
- 2 cucumbers (peeled or unpeeled, your choice)
- 1 medium-sized red onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 0-4 jalapeños, depending on your spice tolerance
- one small bunch cilantro
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice — either pre-made or the juice of two limes
- 3 tablespoons hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Chop the tomatoes, pepper, and cucumbers into about 1/2″ cubes. Coarsely chop the red onion. Cut the cilantro leaves and upper portion of the stalks into small pieces (cuts about 1/2″ apart) and discard the bottom portion.
Finely chop the jalapeños, if you decided to use them, and mince the garlic cloves.
Reserve half of the vegetables in a container, and place the remainder in the bowl you plan to use to hold the gazpacho in.
Add the red wine vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce to the bowl. Add in half the tomato juice from the bottle, and blend with an immersion blender until large chunks of vegetables are no longer visible. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can also place everything in the first part here into a blender or food processor, then put it in the serving bowl afterward.)
Add in your reserved veggies and place the whole bowl in the fridge for some time between two hours and two days — the longer it sits, the more the flavors will meld, resulting in a more flavorful gazpacho.
Serve with toasted bread (I did it with some grilled brioche and it ruled!), alongside a main course, or just slurp it out of tupperware in the fridge for a midnight cooldown. Yum!