If you’re as lucky as I am, there’s a bumper crop of tomatoes in your garden. I have raised beds, and I switched out all the soil in the early spring and replaced it with compost that I made from produce scraps and yard trimmings. That took two years, but the results were worth it. Some of my tomato plants are six feet tall and are producing heavily. Of course, the excess tomatoes can be chopped up and frozen for use in the winter, but I love the flavor of the ones straight from the garden. I got just a little tired of salads at every meal, so I started to get creative and decided to make a gazpacho, which is a cold Spanish soup using fresh garden vegetables. According to my friend and cookbook author Cliff Wright, “It is Andalusia’s best known dish and probably originated as a soup during the time when Spain was part of the Islamic world in the Middle Ages. Gazpacho comes in a variety of different intraregional versions, some of which contain almonds, and no tomatoes and peppers (tomatoes and peppers came to gazpacho after Columbus). Gazpacho is traditionally made in a mortar and the bread is ideal when it is about a week old. The bread and vegetable mixture is pounded to a paste, and then you begin to add the tomatoes, then the olive oil, and finally the vinegar, tasting all the time to make sure you’ve got it right. The tomatoes should always go through a sieve so there are no seeds in the finished dish.” Read the entire gazpacho story here.
Well, making it the traditional way takes too long for me. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, you can use canned tomato chunks but the flavor is not as good. Likewise, if you don’t have fresh serrano chiles, try the canned ones here or your favorite Mexican hot sauce, here.
Dave’s Fresh Garden Gazpacho
The great thing about gazpacho is if you have any left over, you can use it as a fresh pasta sauce. Just drain the gazpacho through a sieve, leave it at room temperature, then cook some small pasta, like orzo, al dente. Toss the gazpacho with the pasta, top with freshly grated parmesan cheese, and you have dinner in less than ten minutes.
2 cloves garlic
3 cups tomato or vegetable juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 large tomatoes, preferably red, chopped
3 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 serrano chiles, seeds and stems removed, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Herb croutons for garnish
Minced Italian parsley for garnish
In a blender, combine the garlic, 1 cup of tomato juice, oil, and vinegar and blend for 10 seconds. Add one half of the tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, onion, chiles and parsely and using the “pulse” mode, blend until the vegetables are coarsely chopped but not pureed. Transfer this mixture to a large bowl. Repeat this process with the rest of the juice and vegetables. Transfer to the bowl and mix well. Chill the mixture until it is very cold.
Add salt and pepper to taste and pur into bowls. Garnish with the croutons and parsley and serve.
Yield: 2 quarts
Heat Scale: Mild
For more spicy soup recipes, click on the image above!