Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gazpacho: Let me count the ways!

While we're still enjoying peak tomato-- and other produce -- season, let's not forget the pleasures of a well made cold, spicy soup. Gazpacho also is a veggie plate in a bowl and super healthy. Traditional recipes often use bread as an ingredient in the blended soup, but there are many other ways to make it.
I was reminded of the versatility of gazpacho by this article in the Health section of the Times last week, which has links to a variety of riffs on this summer standby, most made in a blender but others just chopped veggies in some kind of juice -- or the veggies' own juices.

Included are such delights as Chipotle Gazpacho; Tomatillo, Tomato and Avocado Gazpacho; and Blender Gazpacho with Celery, Carrot, Cucumber and Red Pepper ("essentially a tangy, pungent vegetable smoothie").
Here's one of the recipes!


2 slices red or white onion
1 large beet (about 6 ounces), roasted
1 small (6 ounces) cucumber or 1/2 long European cucumber peeled and coarsely chopped
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered
2 sticks celery, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, halved, green germs removed
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus a little extra for the onion
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1/2 to 1 cup ice water
For garnish:
1/2 cup diced cucumber
Slivered fresh mint leaves
1. Put the onion slices in a bowl, cover with cold water and add a few drops of vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cut in half or into smaller pieces.
2. Working in two batches, blend all of the ingredients except the garnishes in a blender for 2 minutes or longer, until smooth and frothy. Transfer to a bowl or container (a metal bowl is the most efficient for chilling), thin out with more water if desired, and chill for at least 2 hours before eating. Garnish each bowl or glass with diced cucumber and slivered fresh mint leaves.
Yield: Serves 6

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