One of the great things about growing your own fruit and vegetables is that you get to shop in your garden every day. This time of year we have different kinds of tomatoes and cucumbers ripening 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?
Besides making tomato sauce, you could roast and can 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 baguettes?
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.
This is one of the fastest soups I know! Under 10 minutes from refrigerator to bowl!
So here is the recipe.
- 6-8 ripe tomatoes quartered
- 2 medium cucumbers (peeled, seeded and roughly chopped)
- 4 stalks of celery chopped coarsely
- 1 small onion chopped
- ½ 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
- Sea salt
- French baguette
- 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)
- 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.
- Ladle the gazpacho in nice small bowls (chilled on a very hot summer day).
- Garnish with a few slices of toasted bread, fresh chopped basil and drizzle a little olive oil.