The traditional gazpacho in Andalusian cuisine uses stale bread, olive oil, wine vinegar and salt. The primary ingredients are ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions and garlic which are pounded using a mortar and pestle. To know more about how it's originally prepared, check out the link !! So, here's a light and refreshing soup just in time before summer winds up.
Browsing through some of the Mofo blogs, just found out that today is International Chocolate Day!! Like you need more excuses to enjoy chocolates??? Too bad, I am not doing desserts this month!! If you want to dive into chocolate haven, check out Richa's Chocolate Overload that has a good roundup of drool worthy recipes from her blog. And, if that's not enough, how about Cara's honeycombs or rolos to satisfy your sweet tooth? Enjoy the chocolatey goodness!!
4-5 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium seedless cucumber, chopped (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (approx. 1/2 cup)
1 small red onion, chopped (approx. 1/2 cup)
1-2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp white vinegar (or white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar)
1 - 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice (or lemon juice)
1 cup tomato juice (or V8 low-sodium vegetable juice)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp tabasco/hot sauce (optional)
1/4 cup fresh parsely, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup homemade croutons (optional)
2-3 slices of stale bread (like french or italian bread)
Salt and pepper, to taste
To make croutons:
Slice the outer layer of the bread (I used french bread) and toss out. Cut the inner layer into small cubes (1/2 to 1 inch).
In a mixing bowl, add 1 to 1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo), generous pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk well until all ingredients are mixed (you can also add some minced garlic, for garlic croutons). Add the bread cubes and toss lightly for the oil to coat evenly.
Preheat oven to 375° F. Place the bread cubes on a lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 mins or so (I made a small batch of these in my toaster oven) until golden brown.
In a large bowl, add the cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, minced garlic, jalapeno and mix well. Add the tomatoes and mix again. If using stale bread, cut into small pieces and toss with the other ingredients, so that it soaks up the juices. Let it sit for 5 mins.
In a food processor or blender, add the vegetable mix (cucumber, pepper, onion, garlic, jalapeno & tomatoes), salt, pepper, evoo, vinegar, tabasco, lime juice and pulse/blend to the desired consistency (reserve about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of coarsely pulsed mix).
Pureé the rest of the mix for 20 seconds or so until well blended (don't blend until smooth, leave it slightly coarse for the texture).
Pour into a bowl and add the vegetable juice (or tomato juice), finely chopped parsley and check for seasonings. Adjust to taste and chill the soup atleast for 2-3 hours, preferably, overnight.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped red bell pepper, cucumber, chopped parsley and croutons. Serve cold.
Makes 4 servings.