Gazpacho has been a favorite of mine since I first had it at a tapas restaurant in my hometown of Grand Rapids, MI. Since then, I’ve tried many, many recipes, and as I usually do, I’ve figured out my own basic concoction, and adjust it from time to time. Here’s how I make it, as of August, 2017:
- 12 medium tomatoes
- 2 large bell peppers (I prefer orange or yellow)
- 2 large cucumbers
- 1/4c chopped scallions
- 1/4c olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp lime juice
- 2-3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
Start by peeling the tomatoes – this has been the biggest game-changer in my own making of gazpacho. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and place 2-3 tomatoes into the boiling water. Watch for the tomatoes to crack, and then remove, run under cold water, and peel the skins. Place the peeled tomatoes into a blender as you go. Be careful – the tomatoes will be hot. Discard the peeled skins.
Once all tomatoes are peeled, add the oil, lime juice, and vinegar to the blender, and blend until smooth. If your blender is near or at capacity, pour off 1/2 of the mixture, after blending, to another holding container to be mixed back in. Add 1-2 tbsp of salt, and a bit of pepper, and taste.
Rough-chop one cucumber and one pepper. Add them to the blender, and pulse – just enough to break them down, but not to a full puree. At this point, my blender is always full, so I pour the mixture out into the two storage containers that will go into the fridge – each of which leaves me enough room to add more ingredients and to mix them in.
Chop the second cucumber and pepper, and add these to your mixture. These pieces should be larger, giving texture and crunch to your gazpacho. Finally, chop your scallions – courser for more flavor, finer to have them blend better, and add to your gazpacho.
Taste again, and add salt or pepper, as desired. I will sometimes also add garlic powder, but have found the taste of fresh scallions more enjoyable (plus, they add texture).
Gazpacho, as prepared above, is basically a hand-made medley of vegetables that has enough mouth-feel and texture to be satisfying. To add to that, and to increase the fat content – to make it a meal worthy of consuming on its own, I’ve lately been roasting cashews to add to the gazpacho. I usually plan to just add a few, but end up eating them all – either on the soup or just from the pan.
Heat up a small pan on medium, with a bit of olive oil (~1 tbsp). Once the oil is hot, add 1c of cashews (raw, whole). Keep them moving in the pan so they brown evenly, without burning. As they start to brown, add ~1 tsp of salt (coarse grind is my preference, but fine works too), ~1 tsp of aleppo pepper (or red pepper, or something else with a bit of heat), ~1 tsp of ground garlic, and ~1 tsp of basil. Toss repeatedly – keep it all moving together. Enjoy the smells. Keep tossing for another minute, until the cashews are evenly coated, and then pull from the heat. Allow to cool before grabbing with your fingers. They’ll last a few days in the fridge in a sealed container…if you can actually keep from eating them.