Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Gazpacho - The easy way.

  • Always a good dish for the hot days of summer. There are umpteen versions most of them delicious. This is my version which has the virtue of simplicity.
At the left are the ingredients which are:
  • Ripe tomatoes; 4 in this case. Use more if you like. I've cut down because my wife likes a 'less tomatoey' gazpacho.
  • Onions: 3 medium sized. They're red here, but any mild will work. Sweet Walla Walla's, Maui's .... will need extra vinegar for balance.
  • Cucumbers; 3 large 'English' type.
  • Bell peppers; 2. I've used green & Yellow for the color, but any combo you like is OK.
  • Sherry vinegar; to taste.
  • Tobasco sauce; to taste. The small jar at the front is a piminate, but I decided against it after using a sample; too hot. Need to practice with this as the flavor is good.
  • Salt, to taste.
  • Stock; powder or already made, about 1 liter I used vegtable, but chicken works very well.
Here's the method - step by step. ( May be a bit tedious for experienced cooks, but I want a rank novice to be able to make this recipe. Thus all the notes & comments. My apologies to those who get bored.)

Make the stock or heat up the already made stock. Bring it to the simmering point. Turn the heat off.

Peel & roughly chop the onions as in the photo.
Put the onions in the stock and puree. (I use a Braun multiMix, but you can use a food processor instead. If using a food processor then place the onions in the bowl along with a cup or more of the stock. Process then transfer to a large bowl. You will repeat this process with the cucumbers and the tomatoes. Once all three are processed add any remaining stock & process the mixture again in batches and transfer to the bowl you'll use for serving. As we progress you'll see why I use the multiMix.)

Peel, deseed & roughly chop the cucumbers. Chop as at the left. Place the in the stock & onion mix and puree. (if using a food processor repeat the step as described above.

Peel, core, deseed & roughly chop the tomatoes. (to peel tomatoes bring a pan full of enough water to cover the tomatoes to a boil. Place a couple of tomatoes in the boiling water for about one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon. Peel as soon as they're cool enough to handle) See picture below.
Place in the pot & puree along with the stock, onions & cucumber.

Deseed & devein the peppers. (to do this cut around the stem & remove the seed pod. Cut pepper in half. Gently smack the pepper, cut side down, on your cutting board to remove any remaining seeds. With a sharp knife carefully cut along the white veins to remove them.
Cut pepper into a jullien (long thin strips) the long side of the peppers. Line up some of the strips & cut crossways to make a small dice.

Do a final bit of pureeing to make sure there are no bit bits left. Then add the pepper dice. Pictures below show what it should look like. At left the tomatoes have just gone in. At right pureeing is finished & pepper dice added.

Next add the sherry vinegar. You can use virtually any type of vinegar you like, although I'd stay away from Balsamic or rasberry for gazpacho, I like to add a bit of honey vingar, but it can be hard to find. Experiment on small batches of soup.
Whatever type you use add a bit at a time until you like the taste. (It will probably take more than you expect.) Also add you salt at this point. Keep stirring & tasting until you're satisfied.

Now add the tobasco sauce. Be very careful here if you add too much it's hard to recover. Keep adding a few drops at a time until you just start to get a bit of a bite on your tongue.

The finished gazpacho is pictured below. To serve make some croutons with garlic & herbs de Provence. Yummy!

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