Monday, September 14, 2009
I made Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho!
Alison was having a dinner party last Saturday and I was trying to figure out what to bring. Something tasty, easy to transport, and seasonal, I thought to myself. Then I realized that I had been excited to make gazpacho all summer long but had never found the time. Well, the time has come, I thought to myself again.
I decided to go with a traditional gazpacho and followed this recipe exactly. It was so easy!!
Classic Andalusian Gazpacho
Adapted from El Faro, Cádiz, Spain
1 (2-inch-long) piece baguette, crust discarded
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar (preferably "reserva"), or to taste - (I did not use "Reserva" vinegar, wouldn't sweat it.)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional) - I say go for it.
2 1/2 lb ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered (As you can see I used 4 large heirloom tomatoes and one smaller guy.)
1/2 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Andalusian hojiblanca) - Again, just used my standard olive oil. Why not?
Garnish: Finely chopped red and green bell pepper (I also used Persian cucumber and a bit of jalapeno. I think some very finely chopped red onion could be good too.)
Soak bread in 1/2 cup water 1 minute, then squeeze dry, discarding soaking water.
Mash garlic to a paste with salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash with a large knife).
My attempt at making the paste with a knife. Five minutes after I finished, I found a mortar and pestle in my cabinet that I had no idea existed. Ah well. Next time I guess. It would definitely be easier that way.
Blend garlic paste, bread, 2 tablespoons vinegar, sugar, cumin, and half of tomatoes in a food processor (I used the trusty HAND BLENDER!) until tomatoes are very finely chopped.
The first batch, waiting to be blended.
Add remaining tomatoes with motor running and, when very finely chopped, gradually add oil in a slow stream, blending until as smooth as possible, about 1 minute. Throwing that yellow tomato into the mix made the soup a crazy orange color!
Force soup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing firmly on solids. Discard solids.
Look at all the seeds and peels I strained out!
Strained soup, ready to chill.
Transfer to a glass container and chill, covered, until cold, about 3 hours. Season with salt and vinegar before serving.
Gazpacho to go!
I don't have any photos of the final product, but we served the soup in little ceramic mugs with some of the garnish on top, and it looked pretty cute. I was really proud of this soup. The tomatoes were so flavorful, and the soup tasted fresh and bright. Straining it makes the texture so smooth and creamy and it actually feels a little bit fancy, even though it is really simple. I want to make it over and over while there are still delicious tomatoes to be found. You should too.