Gazpacho is a Spanish soup (Andalusian, to be exact), and I was surprised to discover that it was not a tomato soup until recently. It was originally a soup of stale bread, water, garlic, and eventually, vinegar. When tomatoes were brought back from the new world, they were incorporated into this soup. These days, gazpacho usually contains tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, cilantro, as well as the traditional ingredients. Fruit gazpachos are also quite delicious (such as the watermelon gazpacho I made over and over and over during the summer of 2001, much to my mother's delight).
I recently came into possession of 20lbs of tomatoes (thanks to my parents) from Hurricane Flats in South Royalton, VT. This farm always sells ridiculous quantities of tomatoes at the end of summer at the Norwich Farmer's Market, and when my parents were there, they got me a big box. I actually had other plans for these tomatoes that I'll tell you about tomorrow (ah, it was such a long and arduous process, that recipe is not for the faint of heart, but I'll tell you about it anyway), but I decided to turn some of them into gazpacho (a much easier tomato recipe).
Then I polished off that batch of gazpacho and made another.
I was excited about this gazpacho. It's from one of my favorite restaurants, Simon Pearce, although I don't recall ever trying their gazpacho. I expected it to be delicious. One note about gazpacho and its many variations: some soups are full of veggies only, some add the traditional stale bread, and some cheat and use tomato juice. SP cheated. It was a good gazpacho, but the tomato juice adds a texture I'd prefer in dishes that are not gazpacho. But it was still tasty.
Did I mention gazpacho is easy? There's just one step.
Simon Pearce's Gazpacho
acquired from their e-newsletter and modified slightly
1 cups ripe diced peaches (originally 2 cups)
1 cups large vine ripened tomatoes diced (originally 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup diced cucumbers
1/4 cup diced red onions
1/4 cup diced sweet peppers (I omitted)
1 jalapeno pepper diced (I omitted)
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 bunch chopped cilantro
1/4 bunch chopped parsley
24oz/3 cups of V-8 juice (originally 48oz)
juice of one large lemon
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender, puree. Pour into a bowl, serve.
Gazpacho Recipe #2, "Traditional" Gazpacho
adapted from Martha Stewart (my biggest alteration was to sub peach in for the cucumber- I was out of cucumber)
2 cups stale bread, cubed (I used sourdough and left the crusts on- if your bread isn't stale, just toast it lightly)
2 cloves garlic
2lbs tomatoes, diced
2 medium peaches, peeled and diced
1T red wine vinegar
1T olive oil
small handful of basil (my addition)
1. Soak the bread in the cold water (enough water to cover the bread), set aside for 15 minutes. Squeeze the water out of the bread (without pulverizing the bread, though)
2. In a small saucepan, combine the garlic cloves and enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Drain the garlic.
3. Combine bread, garlic and the rest of the ingredients in a blender. Puree briefly- chunks of veggies are nice, you don't necessarily want the gazpacho completely smooth.
4. I garnished with homemade croutons. Yum!
Note: apparently not self-respecting Andalusian housewife would ever, ever add basil to her gazpacho. I'd prefer cilantro, but I like basil, and I have lots of CSA basil right now. So that's why I added it. I think I can live with the shame.