Originally gazpacho was a peasant dish, made with leftover bread, garlic, water, olive oil and vinegar. But when Spanish explorers returned from the New World with tomatoes and peppers, gazpacho evolved into the summer soup we know today. Because I love the dynamic contrast of temperatures, I use hot garlic croutons as the garnish.
Cold Soup Recipes
1 large European cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves3 minced, 1 whole
2 pounds yellow tomatoespeeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 small yellow bell pepperscored, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Hot sauce (optional)
Three 1-inch-thick slices country bread, crusts removed
How to Make It
Put the cucumber in a blender or food processor, add the vinegar and pulse until finely chopped but not pureed. Transfer to a large bowl or pitcher. Add the onion, minced garlic, two-thirds of the tomatoes and half the yellow peppers to the blender and puree until smooth. Add this mixture to the cucumber. Finely chop the remaining tomatoes and yellow bell peppers by hand and stir them into the gazpacho. Whisk in the olive oil and jalapeños and season with salt, white pepper and hot sauce. Refrigerate the gazpacho until cold, at least 3 hours.
Preheat the broiler. Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil. Toast the bread under the broiler, turning once. Rub with the whole garlic clove and cut the toast into 1/2-inch dice. Serve the cold soup in shallow bowls, garnished with the hot croutons.
The gazpacho can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
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