I've been wanting to make gazpacho since I spent a summer in Spain nine years ago. Before that time, I don't think a spoonful of cold tomato-based soup would've crossed my lips, but after eating it with nearly every meal in beautiful Espana, I learned to love gazpacho as a refreshing and savory summer treat.
I'm not sure why it took me nine years to make my own gazpacho - after all, it's pureed vegetables, served cold - not exactly difficult to make. Perhaps it was because I didn't have someone to share a big vat of soup with, and evidently Larry doesn't feel the same way that I do about gazpacho. Before he fell asleep that night, he rolled over and whispered in my ear, "I won't be eating any gazpacho!"
The gazpacho recipe I had my eye on was actually made with roasted red peppers in addition to tomatoes. On Saturday morning, we headed to the Farmers' Market and picked out red peppers, sweet cherry tomatoes (the farmer encouraged us to pop some in our mouths right there - "they're SO sweet!" he said. Indeed, they were!), and vibrant purple onions. We also bought little cucumbers, white nectarines, four ears of corn, freshly made feta, and a package of cheese curds. Oh yes, and a slice of cherry pie for breakfast!
That evening, I set about slicing up the vegetables for roasting. The recipe called for roasting the tomatoes, peppers, and onions for 50 minutes. I set the timer for the halfway point, popped the roasting pans in the oven, and went upstairs. Twenty-five minutes later, the timer beeped and I went downstairs to discover a horrible burning smell, the whole lower level of the house engulfed in smoke, and plumes of smoke pouring out of the oven.
He was sitting on the couch watching TV. How he could even see the television through that much smoke is beyond me!
I screeched, "Why didn't you tell me this was happening?!"
"Tell you what?"
THAT MY VEGGIES WERE BEING CREMATED!
An assessment of the damage:
Exhibit A - Before.
Exhibit B - Oh shit.
But I scraped the incinerated veggies off the pan and proceeded with my soup making.
The final product:
See those little black specks in the soup? No, that is not crushed black pepper...it's CHAR. Despite the fact that my kitchen almost caught fire, the soup was very good (and it had a distinctive smoky flavor!). I recommend serving this in small bowls as a first course, accompanied by some crusty bread and a cold beer.
The making of gazpacho also brought in something that had never before been allowed in the Smoellke household: hot sauce. Hello there, Texas Pete!
Notice how my kitchen walls and Texas Pete are almost the exact same color? I'm thinking that Benjamin Moore should ditch Pilgrimmage Foliage as the name of the paint color in favor of Hot Sauce. Spicy!
Roasted Red Pepper and SMOKY Tomato Gazpacho
Adapted from Epicurious/Bon Appetit
- 2 pounds plum or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 1/2 red onions
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups water, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar (in my opinion any vinegar would do - couldn't taste the Sherry)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
- pinch cayenne pepper
For garnish (This is a very smooth soup, so I also think the veggies would be good mixed into the soup for some added crunch):
- chopped red pepper, cucumber, and onion
- extra-virgin olive oil
Put vegetables, pan juices, and 1 cup water into a bowl and blend until smooth using an immersion blender (alternatively, use a food processor). Cover the gazpacho and chill overnight.
Mix remaining 1/2 cup water, vinegar, hot pepper sauce, and cayenne pepper into gazpacho. Season to taste with salt.
Pour gazpacho into serving bowls and top with chopped vegetables and a drizzle of olive oil.