Bonne Maman Jar Gazpacho

gazpacho
Not tomato juice, but chilled, drinkable soup

I’ve always been wary of gazpacho. Bad batches can end up tasting like salsa or tomato juice. Often, you have an urge to over spice it. Tomatoes, some mild veggies, a little bit of salt and vinegar – how could these ingredients be enough for a flavorful, satisfying soup? But if you start adding a little bit of heat or some extra garlic you begin to veer dangerously close to Bloody Mary sans vodka territory. No one wants a virgin Blood Mary.  Lots of Americanized recipes list bread chunks or croutons in their ingredients, in order to add a little bit of thickness and texture. Or worse, they leave the soup chunky. This is called salsa. And while it’s better than a virgin Blood Mary, you don’t want to sip on salsa.

Every time I make gazpacho I get nervous. Nervous that the nice farmer’s market tomatoes I paid a pretty penny for are going to go to waste. I could easily whip together bruschetta or a simple tomato salad instead. Perfectly ripe, local tomatoes are a summertime gem! And they should not be wasted. I was relieved to find that this gazpacho recipe by Julia Moskin, is not a waste. Trust in this recipe. So long as you buy quality ingredients and follow the directions you will end up with a soup that is creamy, refreshing, and full-flavored. Use some heirloom beauties to give your soup a lovely hue.

Ingredients:

  • Roughly 2 lbs ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
  • 1 cubanelle pepper (or another long, light green pepper), cored, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small mild onion (red or white) peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil + extra for drizzling

Directions

  1. Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion, and garlic in a blender. You can also use an immersion/hand blender and do this is a deep bowl. Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides as you blend.
  2. While blending, add the sherry vinegar and salt. Slowly drizzle in olive oil. The mixture should become emulsified, like a salad dressing. If the mixture still seems a little watery add more olive oil.
  3. Strain the mixture. You can do this through a food mill. We used a cheese cloth/colander combo, squeezing the mixture through a couple cheese clothes in batches. Throw out the solids. Transfer the mixture to a bowl or pitcher and refrigerate. It will taste best if you keep it in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours. Refrigerating in a metal container will cut the fridge time.
  4. When ready to enjoy, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary (more salt and/or vinegar). Serve in glasses. Drizzle quality olive oil for an extra nice touch and a little additional flavor.

Details: Makes 8-12 servings.

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