Thursday, August 4, 2011

How I make ... gazpacho

This recipe makes a truly rich, refreshing chilled raw vegan soup out of excellent summer fruits and vegetables. You could skip the fussy extra steps of sieving the soup and then blending in the olive oil, but you'll miss out on its distinctive velvety texture. If you've got the hardware handy, give it a shot and see if it isn't worth your while.

Adapted from the recipe for sun gold tomato gazpacho from Ad Hoc At Home by Thomas Keller


1 cup cold water

2 lbs juicy summer produce (tomatoes, melons, stone fruit)

1 1/4 lb crisp summer produce (cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, bell peppers)


citrus juice / vinegar
olive oil


Pour the water into a bowl and add a generous pinch of salt. Prepare the produce (core tomatoes, peel melons, seed cucumbers and squash), chop into 1-inch pieces, and add all produce to the bowl, starting with the crisp produce first so it spends more time marinating. Stir to completely coat the produce and let marinate 5 - 10 minutes.

Puree the mixture of produce and water. I use Jeff's heavy-duty food processor, but you could also use an immersion blender or a regular blender. Either way, it will take a while--I'm telling you right now that it's going to take longer than you think, so get those biceps ready if you're using an immersion blender. When you're done, the soup should be pretty close to smooth. If you're making the proportions listed, expect it to take 3-4 minutes.

Pass the soup through a fine sieve. Not much should be stuck in the sieve (only tomato and pepper skins, maybe some seeds if you didn't seed your squash completely) and the strained soup should be relatively thick. Taste the soup and add some salt and a few drops of vinegar/citrus juice to taste. Not too sour! A few drops will pick up the flavors of the vegetables; add more you'll have vinegar soup.

Wipe out the original food processor, blender, or bowl, and pour the soup back into it. With the food processor or blender running, slowly add olive oil to the soup and blend to achieve a smooth, velvety texture. Ad Hoc At Home suggests nearly a cup of olive oil for the listed proportions, but I usually find that 1/4 - 1/2 cup is sufficient; more than that seems to dominate the flavor of the soup and give it an unpleasant, oily texture.

Serve cold, garnished with additional finely diced raw vegetables and fresh herbs. Makes 4-6 servings.


Mix in one quarter of an onion and/or 2-3 cloves garlic--not too much, or the raw, pungent taste will overpower the rest of the vegetables.

Let the gazpacho sit overnight in the refrigerator. This results in a mellow, unified flavor that I prefer to fresh gazpacho. You'll probably need to hit it with an immersion blender to re-emulsify it before serving.

Don't strain the soup for a more rustic texture.

Add breadcrumbs or torn bread to the original mixture for a thicker soup with a deeper flavor.


Ad Hoc At Home sun gold tomato gazpacho -- For the juicy produce, use whole sun gold tomatoes. For the crisp produce, use one yellow bell pepper and some armenian cucumbers. Add also red onion and garlic. Garnish with cucumber, red bell pepper, sun gold tomato, chives, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Mariquita late July gazpacho -- Use San Marzano tomatoes for the juicy produce and a mixture of summer squash and red bell pepper for the crisp produce. Garnish with diced red bell pepper, sliced padron peppers, and creme fraiche.

Colorful watermelon gazpacho -- Use watermelon for the juicy produce, red bell pepper and peeled cucumber for the crisp produce. Add red onion and no garlic. Garnish with quartered sun gold tomatoes and a bright green cucumber-herb granite.

Yellow gazpacho -- Yellow tomatoes, yellow summer squash, yellow bell pepper, sweet onion.

Green gazpacho [?] -- Try using green beans for some of the crisp produce. Garnish with yellow peaches. Not sure if this would work.

Top any gazpacho with a fried green tomato... might provide a nice contrast to the whole raw vibe that gazpacho has going on.

Oh, how about papaya and green papaya? Wouldn't that be fusion-tastic?

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