A Rainbow of Gazpacho
In the summertime many kitchens have a blender out on the counter all season. It's time to think beyond the frozen margaritas and slushies and enjoy your garden's fresh bounty by making gazpacho.
Gazpacho is an ancient recipe with its origin in the Iberian peninsula, made particularly famous in the Andalusia region in southern Spain. The chilled soup is a purée of bread, olive oil, garlic and raw vegetables. The most familiar gazpacho gets its red color from red tomatoes and red bell pepper. But there are so many other colorful choices with multicolored peppers and heirloom tomatoes that I decided to experiment a bit and make a whole rainbow of gazpacho soups from different combinations. What fun!
For each iteration I used the same base of chopped onions, garlic and cucumbers, but changed the color with color-coordinated tomatoes and peppers. I had an entire crayon box of gazpacho colors: red - orange - yellow - green and even purple! I was pleasantly surprised at how different each recipe tasted. I had expected the orange and yellow soups to taste just like the red version but the flavor nuances from the different tomatoes and peppers were as varied as the colors.
Although many gazpacho recipes call for using a baguette or ciabatta with the crusts removed, if you have a delicious fresh loaf, just chop it up and use it crusts and all. In a pinch I've even substituted a lightly toasted English muffin with delicious results. I think of gazpacho soup as sort of a puréed panzanella salad - same ingredients, same delicious flavor.
There's no masking the flavor of the raw vegetables in this recipe so be sure to choose produce that is ripe and delicious. Gazpacho is delicious as a light summer lunch and can be eaten with a spoon or simply sipped. I've even seen it served as a appetizer in little shot glasses.
Along with playing with the colors, you can also have fun garnishing the gazpacho. Top each serving with fresh herbs or micro greens or perhaps some chopped olives, smoked paprika, a splash of hot sriracha sauce or maybe some spicy pepitas.
1 cup French baguette or ciabatta, torn into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped cucumber (peeled and seeded)
1/4 cup chopped sweet Vidalia onion
3/4 cup fresh heirloom tomatoes, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for serving
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Pinch of salt
Chopped fresh herbs, for serving
Combine the bread and water in a small bowl and let sit for a few minutes to soften the bread.
Place all ingredients, including the softened bread, into a blender and process until smooth, about one minute.
Let the mixture chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
To serve, top the gazpacho with chopped fresh herbs and an additional drizzle of olive oil.