Sunday, July 10, 2011

Gazpacho, a bowl of summer

I haven't been writing or cooking much lately, but the abundance of heirloom tomatoes has proved an irresistible source of inspiration. I'm sure this adventure breaches the strict parameters of post-op hand surgery, but the result was totally worth it.

There is a staggering variety of gazpacho recipes online, but the one constant is the reliance on the freshest and prettiest vegetables available. I started with an especially colorful collection of tomatoes Tim gathered from local farm stands.

I did not bother peeling tomatoes and suggest that you don't, either. All you need to do is squeeze or scoop out seeds, then chunk or dice, depending on which step of the recipe. Save the most colorful tomatoes for the second step.

In a blender, add the following:

5 cups mixed heirloom tomatoes, chunked
2 gloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 japaleno, seeded and diced
1 large lime - zested and juiced (about 2 tbsp.)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. kosher salt

Blend on high about 10 seconds or until mostly liquified. Add 1 cup loosely packed mixed fresh herbs, such as parsely and basil. Pulse a few times until incorporated. Pour into large sealable bowl.

Cut the following into a small dice:

1 cup mixed heirloom tomatoes
3/4 cup red bell pepper
3/4 cup cucumber, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup sweet onion

Add to tomato mix and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate about two hours.

Before serving, scoop about 3 cups of the mixture into blender -- or, if you have an immersion blender, into a tall container. Puree, then pour back into bowl and stir through. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and sherry vinegar.

Optional: If the vinegary brightness is too bracing for you, do as Tim did and stir in a small dollop of sour cream.

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