A friend of mine ordered gazpacho in a restaurant recently, and could not stop talking about how good it was. It had nuts in it, so I couldn’t try it, but she spend a significant amount of time saying, “Oh,I WISH you could try this, it’s SO good.” And then I couldn’t stop thinking about gazpacho. It’s like when someone hums a song, and then it’s stuck in your head, and you can’t move on until you download the song and listen to it 300 times. This is the download, and I plan to eat it 300 times before the tomatoes sail off into the horizon for the year.
The order in which the ingredients are pulsed does not matter; just make sure you pulse the minced jalapeno and garlic with at least one of the cubed vegetables so it all incorporates nicely. You can pulse the vegetables coarsely, or until they are pretty finely ground, and you can add more or less tomato juice as you please – gazpacho is a very personal balance between flavor and texture. Also, if you want to skip any of the vegetables (other than the tomatoes — that would be silly), that’s fine. The tiny bit of sugar just brings out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and balances the slight bitterness of some of the other vegetables.
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 red onion, peeled and cubed
- 1 large seedless cucumber, cubed
- 2 celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 small zucchini, cubed
- 1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cubed
- 8 large plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno (or to taste)
- 4 cups tomato juice, or more as desired
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (break out the good stuff for this recipe), plus extra for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Lime wedges to serve (optional)
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the minced garlic with the onion and cucumber and pulse until finely chopped but do NOT puree! Turn into a bowl. Place the celery and zucchini into the food processor and do the same, then add those to the cucumber mixture. Repeat with fennel, if using, and pepper, turn that mixture into the bowl, then do the same with the tomatoes and jalapeno, and turn those into the bowl as well. Stir to mix.
2. Scoop one cup of the vegetable mixture back into the food processor, then add the tomato juice, olive oil, vinegar, sugar and season with salt and pepper. Process to puree the mixture then add it to the bowl, stir to combine well, and check the seasonings. Chill the soup for at least three hours, and up to two days (the longer you let sit in the fridge, the more the flavors meld), and serve quite cold. Stir well before seasoning, scoop into bowl, drizzle with a bit more olive oil, top with a sprinkle of salt, and pass the lime wedges on the side if desired.