Gazpacho (Chilled Tomato and Vegetable Soup)
I am not a fan of cold soups, but Gazpacho is so good because of the fresh taste of all the vegetables. It is probably best known as an appetizer, but can be served as a refreshing main dish. Make it in the summer when the produce is at its finest and when lighter, as well as cooler meals are most appropriate and appreciated. The ingredients in this recipe can be altered to taste or desired amount. Typically, breadcrumbs are added to gazpacho for thickness, but I prefer not to use them. See the similar and related recipes links for a quick and easy way to use any leftovers.
- 1 small sweet onion, quartered
- 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and quartered
- 2 medium cucumbers, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
- 1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 large fresh ripe tomatoes, quartered
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Hot sauce (optional)
Place the onions, peppers, cucumbers, garlic and fresh tomatoes in a processor; process until very finely chopped. Add the basil, salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil and optional hot sauce. Process until soup is the desired texture. Taste for seasoning; chill for at least one hour before serving. If desired, garnish with finely chopped cucumber or whole basil leaves.
Notes: In the off season, this can be made with good-quality canned whole tomatoes. You will need two or three 14.5-ounce cans.