Cherry Gazpacho with Basil
- ACTIVE: 45 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 3 HRS
- SERVINGS: 4
- Two 1-inch-thick slices of white Pullman bread
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3 garlic cloves, 1 thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 pound bing cherries, pitted, 12 cherries finely diced
- 3 ounces tomato juice
- 1 1/2 ounces red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 thyme sprig
- Tabasco sauce
- 4 basil leaves, torn
- Drizzle 1 bread slice with olive oil on both sides. In a medium skillet, fry the bread over moderate heat, turning once or twice, until golden, about 4 minutes. Rub the bread on one side with 1 whole garlic clove. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and transfer to a bowl. Add the sliced garlic, red and yellow bell peppers, cucumber, whole cherries, tomato juice, vinegar and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, remove the crust from the remaining bread slice. Cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes and toss with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the bread cubes to the skillet along with the thyme and the remaining garlic clove and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the croutons are browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer the croutons to paper towels to drain. Discard the garlic and thyme and season the croutons with salt.
- Working in batches, puree the cherry mixture in a blender until smooth. Strain the gazpacho through a fine sieve. Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco.
- Ladle the gazpacho into shallow bowls. Garnish with the diced cherries, croutons and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
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