Every evening after work, we wander around the garden checking on our veggies and come back to the house with armloads of tomatoes. Five plants seemed perfect in the spring, when they were small and we wondered, cynically, if the heirlooms would produce or once again leave us tomato-less and wishing we’d gone with Early Girls. I’m not complaining — I truly love tomatoes — but I have reached a point where I’m no longer eating them like candy, by the handful, and it’s time to branch out from salad.
Enter gazpacho. This recipe is based on one from Spanish cookbook author Penelope Casas. It includes bread, which I think is essential for distinguishing gazpacho from a V-8 or a Bloody Mary. I’ve added croutons to the top because a little toast is always tasty.
(4 to 6 servings)
2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
5 slices of day-old, artisan bread, crust removed
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil
1. Place half the tomatoes, one slice of bread, and all of the garlic, pepper, vinegar, salt, cumin (if using) and sugar in a food processor or blender. Process until all the ingredients are integrated and, with the motor running, add the remaining tomatoes. Gradually add the oil, and process until smooth.
2. Pass the gazpacho through a food mill or strainer, pressing with the back of a ladle to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.
3. Chill for several hours or overnight. Taste and add more vinegar or salt if needed. Serve with croutons.
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2. Brush remaining pieces of bread with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, and then cut the slices into crouton size squares and arrange them on a baking sheet.
3. Bake until golden brown and set aside to cool.