Southwestern gazpacho

gazpacho1I guess that I fibbed a little when I said that last Thursday was the end of my tomato extravaganza. I didn’t exactly plan on making any other tomato-based recipes, although I’d thought about it. I’ve been thinking about gazpacho for a few weeks but just hadn’t gotten around to making it. Honestly, I haven’t been in the mood to really cook for maybe five days, which is a long time for me.

It’s back to being hot here– we’d been having unseasonably cool weather for North Carolina– and the sun has finally come out after two long weeks of hiding behind grey skies. I’d been okay with standing in the kitchen during the cold and dreary weather, but the heat makes me want to lounge around all day and only eat ice cream. Unfortunately, most people, including me, can’t do that, so I got off my lazy butt and made use of the tomatoes on my counter.

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Gazpacho is the perfect remedy for hot and sticky weather. It requires minimal preparation– chop the veggies and blend them all up. Put it in the fridge for a few hours, serve it at the cool, cool temperature, and let it refresh you.

This is a twist on traditional gazpacho. Mark Bittman recently published a great guide with 10 or so gazpacho recipes, but I felt like making something with a Southwestern twist. The deli I worked at in high school had something that we called Santa Fe Gazpacho. It had avocado chunks, and I loved it. I don’t actually remember what it tasted like, but this is my riff on it. It’s great with a hunk of mild cheese and bread.

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Southwestern gazpacho
makes 6-8 servings
inspired by Mark Bittman’s gazpacho recipes in the New York Times
four-stars

 Note: The flavors come together overnight, so I recommend making it a day before serving.

 

2 pounds (about 4 large) tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ yellow pepper, roughly chopped
½ large cucumber (about 150g), roughly chopped
1 very large shallot (or two small), sliced thinly
½ cup cilantro, stems removed
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1 avocado, diced
cilantro and scallions, sliced on bias, for garnish

 

1. In a blender, add half of each: tomatoes, yellow pepper, cucumber, shallot and cilantro. Blend until pretty smooth, keeping a few small chunks, about 30 seconds. Pour blended mixture into a large bowl and repeat with the other half of the aforementioned ingredients.

2. Mix salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil and lime juice into the soup. Gently toss in diced avocado. Chill overnight (or at least three hours) in the refrigerator. Serve, garnished with a few sprigs of cilantro and a sprinkle of scallions.

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