provide the base, and vinegar and olive oil are very
important, but the rest is up to you. Try bell
peppers, hot chilies, cucumber, onion, garlic and
my age or older (I like to tell people that Iím in my
late, LATE, LATE thirties), youíll no doubt agree with me
that things arenít what they used to be. Remember rotary
phones? OMG (as the kids like to text), if I need to figure
out an app on my cellphone, I just hand it to my 9-year-old
topic, the cold, tomato-based vegetable soup known as
gazpacho, isnít what it used to be, either. Fortunately,
unlike my phone, in its modern form, gazpacho is simple,
even without my sonís help.
YOU NEED TO LEARN THIS
itís summer. And summer means tomatoes (or, as we used to
say back in North Carolina: "ímaters"). Lots and
lots of plump, juicy tomatoes, bursting from our gardens and
farmers markets. Gazpacho is a quick, delicious, healthy way
to use up some of the gajillions of pounds of tomatoes we
always have this time of year.
STEPS YOU TAKE
mentioned earlier, the soup that most of us know as gazpacho
is red with fresh tomatoes. Its origins lie in Andalusia, a
region in southern Spain down near Gibraltar way. Sometimes
referred to as a cross between a soup and a salad because of
its many other fresh vegetables, gazpachoís origins reach
back centuries. Some scholars trace it to the Moors, who
occupied Spain from the 8th through the 13th centuries.
Others place it back even further, to the Romans who invaded
in 218 B.C.
with pretty much all other so-called peasant foods, such as
meatloaf, ratatouille and (insert your favorite dish here),
there are probably nearly as many versions of gazpacho as
there are cooks who make it. Hereís the crazy thing,
though. You know how we think of gazpacho as being a
tomato-based soup? And, you know how we were just saying how
it goes back hundreds and hundreds of years to Spain? Well,
think about this, Prep Schooby Do:
tomato is native to the Americas. It didnít get to Spain
until the 1500s, when Spanish conquistadors brought it back
with them from their adventures with the Aztecs. (That seems
like a fair trade, doesnít it? The Aztecs gave the
conquistadors a delicious food that would become a major
influence on their cuisine, while the conquistadors gave the
Aztecs epidemics and annihilation. "Thanks for the Ďmaters,
Montezuma. Have some smallpox.")
tomato gazpacho is a modern invention, what was it before?
Well, the original versions were probably more white or
green than red, thickened with almonds and stale bread,
flavored with garlic, olive oil and vinegar. (See the
accompanying delicious recipe from my Kendall College
colleague, chef Brendan McDermott. Itís probably pretty
close to some of the original versions.)
focus on the modern version, though, simply because itís
so common and so very, very delicious. Start with ripe, red
tomatoes from your garden or your local market. The other
vegetables are up to you, and their color doesnít really
matter. Bell pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic are typical.
If you like some heat, toss in a jalapeno or other chili
pepper or a few drops of your favorite hot sauce.
herbs are nice, too, like basil, thyme, oregano or cilantro.
Other people use a bit of ground cumin. Remember, youíre
in charge. Just donít forget to add salt. Start with a
little, then taste as you add successively more until itís
the method, back in the day it used to involve lots of
pounding with a mortar and pestle to get a decent puree.
Fortunately for us, getting a decent puree is another thing
thatís not what it used to be. Now we just pulse
everything in a blender or food processor. Bzzzz, bzzzz,
bzzzz. Done. Hereís a little more structure:
and shock a couple pounds-ish of ripe, red tomatoes. Peel
them, cut them in half around their equators and squeeze out
the seeds. Give them a rough chop. This is called tomato
concasse ("KON kuh sayí).
the concasse in your food processor along with a cut-up bell
pepper or two, some chopped onion, a clove or two of garlic
and a peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber. Add any fresh
herbs or hot chilies that you want along with a splash of
vinegar (cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, red wine vinegarÖwhatever
you have will work) and two or three splashes of
extra-virgin olive oil. You also can throw in a slice of
stale bread that you soaked in water and squeezed dry. Pulse
the mixture until itís smooth and soupy. Like soup.
too thick, add some canned tomato juice or chicken broth
(which would mean itís no longer vegetarian, of course,
but it thins the soup just fine).
to taste with salt, then chill it for an hour or so.
it in cold bowls garnished with a small dice of whatever
vegetables you put in the soup along with a spoonful of
extra-virgin olive oil drizzled over the top. Yum.
2 hours or more
from chef Brendan McDermott of Kendall College. Adjust the
amount of garlic to your taste. It should be the kick to
this dish. For the breadcrumbs, use two 1 pound loaves of
stale rustic bakery bread. Tear into pieces, then buzz in a
food processor to create breadcrumbs.
raw cashews (20 ounces)
medium cloves garlic
fresh breadcrumbs (white or sourdough)
quarts ice water
cup white wine or Champagne vinegar
1 to 2
cups extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
tablespoon kosher or sea salt
cashews, garlic and breadcrumbs in a food processor until
smooth. Add water, vinegar and olive oil until fully
incorporated. Add salt. Adjust seasoning as needed.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve in a cold bowl.
As the soup sits, it may thicken; add water and season
information per serving: 664 calories, 38 g fat, 3 g
saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 64 g carbohydrates, 16 g
protein, 814 mg sodium, 3 g fiber