For a quick summer meal that's fresh and seasonal, there's nothing tastier and easier than gazpacho. The term 'gazpacho' usually refers to a tomato-based soup which doesn't require cooking and is served chilled; beyond that, there are infinite variations. More often than not, gazpacho recipes include liquids like chicken stock, tomato juice, or even water to thin out the vegetable puree. Because it's August and the farmer's market is filled with truly wonderful heirloom tomatoes right now, I wanted to make a gazpacho that would allow their flavor to shine through. I added a little olive oil and red wine vinegar for texture and taste, but all the rest of the liquid in this recipe comes from the tomatoes themselves rather than from stock or purchased juice. Because it highlights the flavor of the fresh vegetables so well, it's the perfect vehicle for my best farmer's market finds.
For this recipe, I added roasted red peppers along with briny olives to the mix and finished it off with a little basil from my herb garden. You can roast your own red peppers, of course, but in the spirit of a no-cook gazpacho, I used peppers straight out of the bottle. If your red peppers are bottled with garlic cloves, fish one out to use in lieu of the fresh garlic - it'll save you the step of peeling a clove, plus it'll have a mellower flavor than fresh garlic. For the olives, I used a mix of pitted kalamata and green olives from the olive bar at my favorite grocery store. If you can get the kind that are marinated with herbs, it will make your gazpacho that much tastier.
The best part about gazpacho is that the flavors all continue to meld together in the refrigerator, so it's even better the second time around. Because this recipe makes around four servings, I definitely ended up with leftovers. Lucky me - I'm really looking forward to having gazpacho for lunch tomorrow!
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
4-5 large heirloom tomatoes
1 medium cucumber
1 roasted red pepper (or roughly two pieces from a jar of bottled red peppers)
1 garlic clove
3/4 cup pitted kalamata or green olives
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Small handful fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Halve tomatoes and cut out cores. Squeeze juice and seeds into food processor.
After squeezing out as much juice as possible, roughly chop tomatoes and add to food processor.
Peel and dice cucumber. Add tomatoes and cucumber to food processor.
Roughly chop red peppers, olives, and garlic. Mince basil. Add all to food processor along with olive oil and red wine vinegar.
Process mixture until relatively smooth, at least twenty seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If gazpacho lacks acidity, add a little extra red wine vinegar. Pulse again to mix and adjust seasoning one more time if necessary.
At this point, the gazpacho should be chilled at least a couple of hours before serving. If you're impatient like me, you might be tempted to have a bowl immediately and just chill the leftovers instead. If you choose this route, I assure you (from personal experience) the gazpacho will be just as good.
To serve, slice a ciabatta roll in half. Brush with olive oil and rub each piece of bread with half a clove of fresh garlic. Toast under the broiler until golden brown.
Not only is gazpacho quick and easy to make; with such high-quality tomatoes as a base, it tasted absolutely wonderful. And really, you couldn't ask for a healthier meal - apart from a little olive oil, it's all pureed fruits and vegetables. You can bet I'll be making this one a few more times while these wonderful tomatoes are still readily available at the farmer's market!