My cup spilleth over with tomatoes. So does my purse, my car, my kitchen ...
It's almost that time of the summer when my family gets so much lycopene we become super-human. While canning and freezing are wonderful options for the sustainable chef, nothing compares to enjoying these versatile little fruits in their prime. And so, I'll share my favorite tomato-heavy recipe: gazpacho.
This traditionally Andalusian food calls for day-old bread that soaks up the vegetable juices and adds a creamy depth to the smooth tang of the tomato. Some recipes leave the components in large chunks with results somewhat like a complex pico de gallo. I, however, like to puree my gazpacho; it some how feels slightly more sophisticated and the smooth texture is extremely refreshing when chilled.
The really great thing about this recipe is that almost all of your ingredients can come straight from your garden or farmers market! This summer, challenge yourself to make a batch with all local ingredients.
2 lbs ripe tomatoes (about 10 plum tomatoes)
1/2 lb English cucumber (about 1 cucumber)
3 ounces green bell pepper (half a pepper)
1 garlic clove, peeled
a chunk of old, crusty bread, about 3 or 4 inches (French baguette works beautifully)
fresh basil or cilantro to taste
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
Now toss all of your ingredients in the food processor or blender and mix! The bread ratio is totally up to you; I add more or less depending on how light I want the soup to be. Chill the soup for at least an hour or so and enjoy throughout the week. (It also makes a great base for chicken or fish!)
Note: Most recipes call for peeled tomatoes (and the skins will remove nicely if you dunk them in boiling water for a minute or so) but I prefer to leave the skins on for added nutrients. If you don't remove the skins, depending on the ripeness of your tomato, they will separate in the soup and can feel a little papery on the tongue so if you're worried about texture consistency, dunk and peel!