Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Summer Favorite

It's been wonderful summer weather here again. I know this means that there are a bunch of you inland who are suffering from the extreme heat, but we sure love the warm weather out here at the coast.

And since it has been so warm, we needed to come up with some more warm weather recipes. An old favorite is gazpacho. Gazpacho is as varied and as personal in Spain as apple pie is in the US. Every region has a different twist on the recipe and every cook has his or her special preferences. There is gazpacho andaluz, which combines tomates and cucumbers in equal measure, and there is salmorejo cordobés, which focuses on the tomates with plenty of garlic and bread, and there is white gazpacho, made from grapes and almonds. Some gazpachos are chopped, while others are blended. Some leave out the bell peppers, and others skip the bread. Some purists peel and seed the tomatoes and seed the cucumbers.

Martha Stewart has a version with roasted red peppers. Barefoot Contessa uses tomato juice. The Whole Foods Market recipe is a good one.

I do it like this:

2 lbs of tomatoes, cut into a few large pieces
3 cloves of garlic
2 slices of day-old french or italian bread, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup of good olive oil
1/8 cup vinegar

Blend all together until the consistency is to your liking. I like it thick, like a vegetable soup puree. If you need more liquid to get the puree going, add a little more oil, or even some ice water. If you want it thicker, add another tomato, or another small piece of bread or two. Chill in the refrigerator before serving.

You can serve the gazpacho with croutons, or chopped ham, or chopped onion, or chopped hard-boiled egg. You can even serve it with a few ice cubes if you are really hot and want something really cold to eat.

I didn't take a photo last night, and the gazpacho is all gone now, so here is a picture of some italian tomatoes.

I do not recommend adding sleeping pills to the gazpacho.

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