Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pseudo Gazpacho

I know. It's ridiculous that I'm writing this gazpacho recipe in October. I made it a few weeks ago and today is so warm I thought, why not share it, calendar truths be damned? 

I call this pseudo gazpacho because it’s not a traditional gazpacho as you may understand it, which typically comes together in the food processor and it all gets pureed to smithereens and then stuck in the fridge. This one came about by accident. I had frozen about 8 cups worth of tomato puree leftover from my canning extravaganza a few weeks ago. Every time I went into the freezer, no matter how well I thought I secured the quart containers, one of them kept jumping out at me and landing on the floor. This happened two or three times, and after the plastic container cracked and broke and I found myself defrosting the contents in a larger bowl in the fridge, I thought, okay. I need to put an end to this.

So what you have here, on this October day, is a gazpacho that suffers not in taste but exhibits a different texture—you get a contrast of the larger pieces of tomato against the puree, which I really enjoyed. 

Pseudo Gazpacho
Serves 4-6

4 cups fresh tomato puree
2 large heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped (should yield at least 2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 T. sherry vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 

1.     In a medium bowl, preferably one you can put a lid on or easily cover, combine the garlic, cucumbers, and peppers.
2.     Add the puree to the veggie bowl. Stir to combine. Add several good turns of freshly ground black pepper and about 2 tsp. of coarse salt. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
3.     In a measuring cup, combine the oil and vinegar and whisky to emulsify. About 20 minutes before you are ready to serve the soup, put the chopped tomatoes in a separate medium bowl and add the vinaigrette, tossing gently to combine.
4.     Add the chopped tomatoes to the veggie puree and return to the fridge to chill for no more than ½ hour, only if it’s really hot out or the soup becomes significantly warmer when you add the tomatoes. Chopped tomatoes lose their texture and change once they are refrigerated. Pureed tomatoes don’t suffer this same fate. Garnish with the chopped cilantro before serving. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.

Serve with crusty bread, or add in some chunky homemade croutons to add in a panzanella (bread salad) element.