Gazpacho. One of my favorite summer soups. That and vichyssoise. I'm one who could pretty much live on soup. My mouth is watering as I'm typing this so please pardon me while I run fix myself a bowl of gazpacho for breakfast... Ahhh, now that was good. I always make my gazpacho by taking two-thirds of the veggies and pulsing them in the food processor with just a little bit of beef base. Those get mixed with tomato juice, Clamato or V8 depending on my mood - and my pantry. Then, I add in a bit of Tabasco and some extra virgin olive oil. The other third is very finely diced and put into a separate storage container. When I serve the gazpacho, I ladle some of the soup into a bowl, top it with a big handful of the diced veggies and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the top. One of our guests at a dinner party this past week declared it the best gazpacho he'd ever had. The original recipe came from a cookbook called Indianapolis Cooks and Collects.
Here's what it looks like:
Needless to say, I was entranced when I saw almond gazpacho on the Weekend in a French Kitchen recipe schedule. Really? Almond? As I'm typing this, I'm recalling that one of the articles (yet to be fully read) in a New York Times recipe email is about the best gazpacho.
"It is not the watered-down salsa or grainy sludge often served here under the name of gazpacho, but an emulsion of fat (olive oil) in liquid (vegetable juice and vinegar) that is light and fluffy on the tongue and a fantastic conductor of flavor, just like vinaigrette or hollandaise."
Obviously, given my comments in the first paragraph I prefer the chunky gazpacho to the smooth. So, when I read the instructions and found the first step to be soaking crustless white bread in water I cringed a bit. Once the bread is soaked and drained and squeezed dry, it's put into the food processor with almonds, grapes, cucumber and garlic. Then, ice water, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper are added. The soup is put through a fine sieve and refrigerated until chilled. It's topped with reserved almonds and garlic slices that have been crisped in some olive oil. Then, it gets a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of piment d'Espelette.
Once I got over the fact that this was not going to be anything at all like the gazpacho I love, I decided this was pretty darned good. It's not something that I'll make with any regularity but is a lovely recipe for a starter for a dinner party. Or a luncheon with a bowl of this and some great sandwiches.
Here's the ingredient list for the gazpacho I make:
6 c tomato juice
2 T olive oil
2-3 T lemon juice
1 c beef broth
1/2 c finely minced onion
3 tomatoes, finely minced
2 c finely minced celery
1/2 green pepper, finely minced
2 cucumbers, seeded and finely minced
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
dash of tabasco