Temperatures and humidity in Arkansas have dropped from deadly to merely oppressive, but we’re still running above normal. Therefore, this weekend I made one of my favorite summer soups, gazpacho. Gazpacho is a tomato soup made entirely of fresh and raw ingredients, and it refreshes and rejuvenates you as you eat it. A friend once called it salsa soup, but it really is a bit more than that. For our household, it’s so good we think of it as red gold on the table. And except for the celery and seasonings, we grow everything that goes in it, and you can too.
Ingredients for 4-8 servings
Note: Use what you have. If 1 cucumber yields you 3/4 cup and you want to use it up, go for it.
- 1 cup peeled, chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup celery (about two stalks)
- 1/2 cup cucumbers: Peel if it’s one of those nasty store-bought cucumbers. If it’s a larger cucumber, be sure to scoop out the bitter seed section.
- 1/2 cup fresh pepper, either sweet bell pepper or a mild chile pepper (My usual choice is a Hatch/Anaheim.)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed (as in, use a garlic press)
- 3 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (or a dab of anchovies and 1 tablespoon of some good calamata or black olive juice)
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups tomato juice
- 1/3 cup snipped parsley or chervil or chiffonaded cilantro or lemon basil (one, not all four!), reserving some of the herb you select for garnish
You have three options for preparing this soup.
- Option one is to mince finely all of your vegetables and then combine everything except the part of the herb you are reserving for garnish.
- Option two is to dice your vegetables not so finely and then hit the combination of vegetables with everything else except 1 cup of the tomato juice with an immersion blender or put them in a food processor and pulse until they are minced. Once the veggies are minced, you can add the rest of the tomato juice and the portion of the herb that isn’t garnish.
- Option three is to put everything in your stand blender except the herbs and pulse until the veggies are minced. Then add the herbs.
Chill the soup in a glass or stainless steel non-reactive container well before serving. The soup keeps really well, the flavors melding nicely, and the mixture is so healthy that I often double the recipe to keep it on hand.
Do you have a favorite heat-beating recipe?
Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader, including photographs.