Gazpacho. It’s a soup. It is tomato based and filled with other lovely crisp vegetables. It is served cold. Cold? Soup? Why, yes! I’ve talked about my love of soups before; I’ve said I’d marry soup, if I could (a saying I totally co-opted from my friend, Dayna). I mean it. All soups, hot or cold. I just love ’em! Before we get to the recipe, I’d like to tell you a story about the first time I ate gazpacho and the first two times I ever made it.
My first taste of gazpacho came in college at a dinner party hosted by an older friend who was in law school at the time (we’ll call her Rosemary S); it was absolutely divine! I loved it! In my note, thanking her for the wonderful party, I raved about the gazpacho and asked if she would be willing to share her recipe.
I am always reluctant to ask anyone for a recipe. You see, I come from a family of recipe hoarders, with my very own mother being the prime and worst offender. Ever. So, it was early training that made me wary of ever asking anyone to share.
Rosemary S was quite gracious, though. In a return note, she passed on her recipe for the gazpacho, neatly typed on its own sheet and folded into the same envelope. I was giddy! It had been so delicious that I could barely wait to make it for myself!
Being a poorer-than-a-church-mouse college student, with no means of transportation, I had to wait for an opportunity to hitch a ride to the local farmer’s market. This chance came a few weeks later. I forked over the hard-earned and even-harder-to-come-by-cash for some really beautiful vegetables, every one on the recipe list, and headed home.
I unfolded the piece of paper with the heading “Rosemary’s Gazpacho,” smoothed it lovingly free of creases, clipped it to my cookbook holder and began chopping. I followed that recipe to a T.
Hours passed as I waited for the gazpacho to chill and the flavors to marry. I paced my tiny college apartment like a caged animal! Finally! The moment arrived! I pulled the bowl from the refrigerator, stuck a spoon directly into the contents and tasted it.
It was HORRIBLE! I’m not talking, the flavors were off, horrible. I’m talking, this stuff was inedible horrible! What had I done!?! I reread the recipe…I focused back on every. single. step I’d taken while making it. No, I had done it JUST as it read! I was crushed.
I waited to see Rosemary S again and I told her of my disaster. Could I have done something wrong? Was there a “trick” to the recipe? She assured me not. So, I trekked back to the farmer’s market, repeated my purchases and started afresh. With the same results.
I had been lessiped! Now, this story only came to mind recently when my friend, Rebecca, posted about recipe sharing. This is her “take” on lessipes: “Lessipe is the same thing but sneakier. ‘Oh sure, I’ll give you the recipe… but I’m leaving this out because I don’t want yours to be as good as mine.'”
*shakes head in wonder* Yes, that certainly sounds familiar.
It was years before I would ever, and with the utmost trepidation, made gazpacho again. With an entirely different recipe, of course!
Now? Now, I make it often in the summer. And I’ll probably make it differently each time. Well, let me correct that. I’ll make the base the same every time, but I may change the herbs I use. I’ll give you notes on what I change in the printable version of the recipe.
Sometimes I will blanch the tomatoes (whole), plunge them in an ice water bath (to stop the cooking) and peel them before I seed and chop them. I only do this if the skins are tough, since I prefer having the skin on. You can do it as you wish.
This time, I added some yellow and orange bell pepper that I had left over from the crudité I served the day before. Waste not, want not…right?
One thing I will assure you of…I will always share a recipe accurately.
- BASE SOUP:
- 3 large vine-ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 3 cups tomato juice
- 1 large cucumber, half peeled, quartered, seeded, quarters halved and diced
- 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup red onion, diced
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 small lime, juiced
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- VARIATION ONE (Used this time)
- 1 half of a small jalapeno, cut length-wise, seeded, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- VARIATION TWO (OMIT VARIATION ONE INGREDIENTS and substitute these)
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade (this is just a method of cutting where you stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar, and slice them thinly. When they unroll, it's like basil confetti.)
- Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl.
- Remove about 1½ to 2 cups of the contents to a blender (or food processor) and purée.
- Return the puréed mixture back into the bowl, stir.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for several hours to thoroughly chill.
- Serve with croutons or with a crusty bread (I don't like soggy bread, so I never put croutons in soup. I just dip a tiny corner of the bread in the soup and then eat.)
- ABOUT PREP TIME:
- I know this took 30 minutes to prepare because I chopped everything up in the morning, before work. If you aren't a fast chopper? It may take a tad longer. I left it in the refrigerator all day and served it, after work, for dinner.