One of the great thing about growing your own fruit and vegetables is that you get to shop in your garden. This year was really good for tomatoes, cucumbers, chili etc. The challenge is that they tend to ripen all at the same time. So what can you do when you have lots of tomatoes in your garden? What dishes can you quickly prepare to take advantage of your bumper crop?
You could can tomatoes or roast them but that’s a lot of work (cleaning the jars, blanching the tomatoes, peeling them, sealing the jars etc.) You may not be up to that! You could make a big tomato salad but how many tomatoes can you eat? A summer favorite in our house is “bruschetta”. Seasoned diced tomatoes with fresh basil on toasted french bread! Yum! But again, what to do after you run out of baguette?
That is where gazpacho comes in. A cold and refreshing soup! It originates from the South of Spain, in the Andalucia region and is usually served with stale bread, olives and olive oil. There is nothing easier to make and you can prepare it the day before so that the flavors blend overnight. It can be really colorful if you have yellow, orange and red tomatoes. Take advantage of abundant fresh basil. In Spain, they often filter the soup after blending it so that it is pretty liquid. I personally prefer a thicker soup. So I blend half of it and keep the rest in small chunks.
So here is the recipe (serves 4-5 people)
6-8 ripe tomatoes quartered
2 medium cucumbers (peeled, seeded and roughly chopped)
4 stalks of celery chopped coarsely
1 small onion chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 cloves of garlic minced
4 Tbl red wine vinegar
4 Tbl virgin olive oil
2 Tbl soy sauce
1-2 tsp chili powder
- Slice the baguette in thin slices and lightly toast until done. Set aside.
- Mix the chopped tomatoes, celery, cucumber, basil, vinegar, oil, chili powder, garlic, soy sauce in a large bowl.
- Pour half into a blender (I use my handy dandy Vitamix).
(A Vitamix is a little pricey but totally worth the investment. I have had mine for more than 15 years and it is still going strong! But if you are on a tighter budget, there are other good options).
Ninja Professional Blender (BL660)
- Pulse a few times only to obtain a chunky texture. You can do the same with the other half if you prefer a more liquid soup. For a thicker soup, just pour the blended half into the other half. Add the oil, salt and pepper and gently mix with a spoon.
- You can eat right away but it is better to refrigerate for a few hours or a day ahead.
- Laddle the gazpacho in nice small bowls (chilled on a very hot summer day). Garnish with a few slices of bread, fresh chopped basil and drizzle a little olive oil.
This has to be the fastest soup in the West! Under 10 minutes from refrigerator to bowl!
Bon appetit !