The tomatoes are here! The tomatoes are here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I look forward all year to late summer when the tomatoes are plentiful. The farmers markets are overflowing with the most gorgeous shades of red, orange and yellow right now. I’m spinning. So many ideas… But today, today is for gazpacho!
2 pounds tomatoes (about 6 medium)
1 cucumber, peeled and seedless
1 jalapeño, seeded
1 large yellow or red pepper
1 medium sweet onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 TBS olive oil
2 TBS white wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
1-2 TBS fresh horseradish
1/2 tsp salt
I am such a tomato girl. I really do get overly excited at the market when the meaty, juicy tomatoes appear. They make me so happy. Ordinarily, I will make fresh salsa a few times a week during the high season. The other night we had Caprese salad with fresh, falling apart mozzarella. But recently, I had the most delicious gazpacho at a food truck and thought, I must try to make my own. And I think I’m hooked. Once you decide on your ingredients, it’s all about adding flavor!
A food processor is essential. Begin by chopping up the pepper, onion, garlic and jalapeño. Set aside a bit of the pepper for garnish. (Note: The hottest part of the jalapeño is in the ribbing and seeds. Remove as much as needed. Wash your hands after handling!) Throw them all in and begin pulsing until minced with some liquid. Pour into a separate bowl.
Slice the cucumber down to the seeds and add to the processor. Again, pulse until very minced. Pour into the pepper mixture.
Coarsely chop up the tomatoes and add to the processor. (Note: Since there are so many kinds of great tomatoes available right now, grab a few heirloom or yellow tomatoes to mix the flavors up here!) Pulse until mostly liquified but with texture. Have a large bowl ready to add the tomato mixture. Then add the peppers, onion and cucumbers and mix together.
Now to add more flavoring! Add the vinegar, olive oil and salt. Taste. Now add the juice of one lime. Taste. Add the horseradish, one tablespoon at a time. Taste. (Note: If you don’t like it too spicy, just add one tablespoon or omit it.) I like to keep tasting the layers of flavors. Gently, mix everything together and chill for at least as hour. The flavors will develop more over time so making a day in advance would only make it better!
Garnish with the peppers or avocado or a sprig of cilantro would be lovely. A nice bit of toasty bread or a green salad on the side would be a wonderful accompaniment to this refreshing and flavorful chilled soup. Small glasses would be fun for shooter-style appetizers. Enjoy the tomatoes while they are at their peak. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!