Hot summer days mean I need a cool recipe. One with minimal cooking: gotta be easy and totally tasty. Plus I gotta use some of my garden produce. Gazpacho is the classic Spanish cold soup. I make it every summer out of ripe red tomatoes. This time I made it from some golden yellow tomatoes; they had some bad spots and couldn’t be included in a free produce give away due to that. I believe the actual variety is Kelloggs Golden; think big fat heirloom tomaters. They are especially nice for some people as this variety is lower in acid; we grow it in our church community garden for seniors who have trouble with regular tomatoes. Using yellow tomatoes changed nothing else about this recipe but it sure looks different! The flavor is mild and delightfully tomato-y.
So, this recipe is perfect for using excess tomatoes and I love it on a hot day. It absolutely must be made with ripe summer tomatoes, never ever attempt it with any less than the best vine ripened fruit. You can get great tomatoes at farm stands, farmer’s markets and even the grocery store; look for the grown local label for the best flavored tomatoes. Please do not use greenhouse tomatoes grown far away and shipped while not really ripe. Your soup will not be full of tomato flavor and it will taste disappointing. These ripe locally grown tomatoes are vital to the flavor of gazpacho. If you can’t find golden tomatoes just use red ones; a more traditional looking gazpacho.
I make my gazpacho in the blender but I believe a food processor works okay too. No heat, minimal fuss.
My version allows you to add chopped raw veggies in the amount you prefer just before you slurp it down. I prefer its fresh pure flavors to those soulless restaurant versions that are often gelatinous and terminally crammed full of assorted chunky veggies…uggh.
Warning: you do need to peel the tomatoes but that goes pretty fast. I heat about a wide sauce pan filled 3 inches deep with water to a boil and pop the ripe tomatoes in for 2 to 3 minutes. I put in two big ones at a time; done in a couple batches. Let them cool a bit and then peel off the skin and cut out the blossom end (top) and they are ready to use. Saying large tomatoes is kinda vague; just think about how many will fill your blender about 2 times 2/3 of the way full. For me it was about 4 or 5 huge tomatoes. I had a bit extra I put in a bowl and sprinkled with white balsamic vinegar to eat as a tomato salad; good way to use up extra tomato slices.
One important instruction: gazpacho just HAS to chill really good; make it early in the morning to serve as a late lunch or better yet; for supper. The colder the better, I always put my soup bowls in the freezer for 15 or 20 minutes and yank them out just before filling and serving this cold summer delight.
It is a flexible recipe; depends on the size of your tomatoes. This should make close to 50 ounces or nearly a quart and a half. It will keep 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
3 to 6 ripe fat golden tomatoes (large ones)
About ¼ cup EVOL; best quality you can afford: I used some from Aldi’s
2 slices white bread (GF if you have celiac)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 to 1 ½ tsp. sea salt
2 tomatoes diced, heirloom if possible
1 cup diced burpless cucumber
2 scallions, sliced thin, green and white parts. Chives work okay too.
Directions: peel the tomatoes as described above. When I peel them I do it over a bowl to capture the juices and seeds. I save them, strain off the seeds and I add back the juice as needed to thin the finished soup. Put half of your cut up tomatoes in the blender; add a slice of bread broken up, 2 tbsp. olive oil, the juice of half a lemon and one garlic clove. Put the lid on and blend well. Note: do not fill the blender more then ¾ full. Taste; add salt; ½ to ¾ tsp. Pour in a glass bowl.
Repeat entire process with the rest of the ingredients and thin with reserved tomato juice – it should be thick but not porridge thick. Mix the two batches together in a big glass bowl; never metal because of the acidity of tomatoes and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Then chill it at least 3 to 4 hours.
Serve with bowls of toppings to sprinkle on top of the thick soup; diced ripe tomatoes, scallion slices and cucumber ( preferably burpless) cut in small dice. If you want to guild the lily, top with croutons (gf ones if you have celiac), I don’t often bother.
Note: gluten free bread often gives a slightly different texture to the soup; somewhat less smooth in the look of it and the taste. It’s okay as it doesn’t affect the flavor: it still is delicious and a bowl of it is so very refreshing on a hot day. Serve with a small sandwich and you have a perfect summer lunch.