When most people here in the US think of gazpacho, they think of a chunky, tomatoey, thin cold substance that reminds me of bland salsa. However, the authentic dish in Spain is nothing like that. It is creamy, and rich, and delicious. What makes it so? Two things that have been neglected here: bread and olive oil. Let me tell you how gazpacho should be.
First, let me give credit where credit is due. I got this recipe from Lynne Rossetto Kasper's America Public Media radio show, The Splendid Table. It was passed to her by David Rosengarten who was a guest on her show recently. David's recipe can be found here in its entirety. I doubled his recipe and it was more than enough!
I started with about 4 oz of day old French bread. This was ripped into pieces and soaked with cold water for a couple of minutes. The water was squeezed out. The bread is important as it helps to thicken the soup.
Next I chopped up about a pound of ripe garden fresh tomatoes, a medium sized sweet onion, about a cup and a half of cucumber (peeled and seeded), a large green bell pepper and a large red bell pepper.
Everything was placed in the blender and 2 tsp of sherry vinegar was added. The mixture was puréed while pouring in 1/2 cup of good extra virgin olive oil. That makes it rich and creamy.
Once puréed, the mixture was seasoned with salt and pepper and then strained through a seive. The soup was chilled well before serving. I garnished it with more of the basil oil I described in my last post.
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