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« Fresh Nectarine Galettes | Main | Last Chance: Watermelon Salad »

Late Summer Gazpacho

By Andrew Hunter

One of the greatest gifts a chef can receive is when their guests come back, time and again, for the same dish. When I worked for Wolfgang Puck, there was an architect from Spain who lived down the street from one of the restaurants where I spent a lot of time. She would always order the summer gazpacho and tell me it was better than she got back home. A few kisses on both cheeks and she would be back the next day for another bowl.

Spaniards have debated gazpacho style for decades – maybe centuries. Smooth or chunky, white or red, simple or complex. Everyone agrees though, that it needs to be made with fresh summer tomatoes, and that it hits the spot on a hot summer day. Our boys turned up their noses at first, but learned to like gazpacho by dipping their bread into it like salsa; now they drink it like a veggie smoothie.

This simple soup can be made the night before or early in the day, but whatever you do, serve it as cold as possible. If you make it directly before serving, add a few ice cubes to the blender when puréeing.

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1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 bunch green onions, minced
2 large summer tomatoes, preferably heirloom, chopped
1 cup tomato juice
1 teaspoon crushed fresh garlic
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Ice cubes if necessary

1 cup reserved chopped vegetables (see instructions)

Combine the vegetables, except the tomatoes, in a bowl and mix well. Remove ½ cup of the mixture and set aside for garnish. Place the remaining vegetables with the tomatoes and tomato juice in a food processor or blender and blend to a coarse consistency. Transfer the gazpacho to a large bowl and season to taste with the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place a few tablespoons of the vegetable garnish with croutons in each bowl. Stir the gazpacho well, ladle into bowls and top with croutons.

Makes 4 servings.

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