Summer Produce Equals Gazpacho

It’s August which means that it’s the height of tomato season. Finding juicy, ripe, gorgeous tomatoes at a local farmers’ market makes me a happy hunter-gatherer. If you can chop and use a blender, a delicious meal is just moments away.

Gather a couple slices of good bread (and trust me, in this case, quality makes a real difference – flabby bread will turn into sludge, not what you’re after) and tear/cut them into cubes. Place the bread into a small bowl and pour some vinegar over it. Some recipes insist on sherry vinegar but I’ve used white wine vinegar, even apple cider vinegar with no ill affects. How much vinegar you use depends on your bread. You want it moistened but not swimming in the vinegar so Rachael Ray it.

Chop up a couple of tomatoes, a cucumber, a bell pepper (color of your choice), a small onion, and a clove or two of garlic (to your taste, I’m a more is better person when it comes to garlic).

Fill your blender halfway with produce and start liquefying. I usually have to do this part in two batches so as to not overwhelm my aged blender. Add a couple of tablespoons or so of olive oil. Again the exact amount will depend on the juiciness of your produce.

Pour it into a sieve set over a large bowl and strain out the solids. Unless you’re my husband who finds this step overly fussy in which case just pour it straight into the bowl. I throw away the solids, always with the wish that I was the sort of person who composts. But alas.

Repeat with the rest of the produce.

Now blend up the vinegar moistened bread. If you need to, add a bit of water or a touch of the olive oil. Add the puree to your bowl.

Taste it. Add salt and/or lemon juice depending on your preference. Want to add a bit of kick and some Andalusian authenticity? Add a tablespoon of smoked paprika and a pinch of cumin. If you don’t, the gazpacho will still be delicious.

Refrigerate the gazpacho before serving or if you believe in instant gratification like me, pour it into a glass and sip contentedly.

Another slice or two of that crusty bread, some cheese (I’m partial to Manchego) and maybe some olives or prosciutto and you’ve got an easy, simple meal.

Ingredients:

2-3 tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 bell pepper
1 small onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 slices of crusty bread
Vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt

Optional but delicious:
Smoked paprika
Cumin
Lemon juice

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