Gazpacho—Salad Gone to Soup

A certain ambiguity takes over when tomato season comes bursting in. Vine ripened, locally-grown tomatoes are hands-down the best veggie in the world. Not only are they delicious sliced and eaten on their own, but they also lend themselves to so many cooking applications. Just image what Italian or Indian food looked like before Columbus brought back this versatile fruit to the Old World—a dull culinary landscape for sure!

But as much as I love tomatoes, the short season can transform me into a galley slave as my inner ant kicks in, and I begin to work feverishy to squirrel them away in anticipation of the winter months to come. While I am passionate about preserving, canning 22 pounds of tomatoes could steal anyone’s joy.

That is why gazpacho is such a blessing. Not only is it a refreshing, easy-to-make, ready-to-eat, delicious cold soup, but it also freezes very nicely.   I know what you’re thinking–more processing?!  But relax. Gazpacho doesn’t require the hullabaloo of removing skins, and you get a preserved product at the same time you made dinner.

Classic Gazpacho
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 8 servings
 
This is my launching point recipe, but you can tweak it with different spices to blend with many different cuisines.
Ingredients
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped herbs (any combination of basil, tarragon, parsley, dill, oregano or chives)
  • 2 or 3 slices stale bread
  • 1 small red onion, quartered
  • 1 lbs. cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
  • 2 lbs. tomatoes, cored and de-seeded
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Add ingredients one by one to a food processor or blender and puree. If you don't have a food processor, finely chop ingredients and mix. Serve with bread, cheese or summer sausage for a light quick meal.
Notes
You can create other versions based on different cuisines by changing ingredients. Think of gazpacho as a finely chopped or puréed salad and then let your imagination go. MEXICAN: Tomatillos or tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno pepper, cucumber, bread, garlic, olive oil, and lime. Garnish with cubed avocado. INDIAN: Tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, red pepper, radishes, green chili, cumin, tomato paste, vegetable stock, garlic, bread, olive oil, and lemon. FRENCH: Tomatoes alone with lemon, tarragon and parsley garlic, bread, olive oil. GREEK: Follow the recipe for Classic Gazpacho above using oregano and parsley as the herbs. Also add a sweet red bell pepper and kalamata olives. Garnish with cubed feta.

Preserve It: Place gazpacho in freezer-safe bags or plastic containers in desired proportions, then label and freeze.  I like to put the gazpacho in 1 – 2 cup plastic containers leaving 1-inch headspace for expansion in the freezer.  I use these later in packed lunches.  They keep the lunch cool while defrosting.

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