*Photos and Content Updated June 2012*
Inspiration: What to do with a surplus of garden tomatoes and cucumbers (more thanks to Brandon’s parents)? Knocking out a soup recipe that has been on my to-make list for ages sounded like a plan. And in the knick of time, too, as my mind is already in chili/stew mode.
What we Loved: What a refreshing soup. After trying gazpacho for the first time a few months back at a restaurant, we both knew that we would love a homemade version. If you haven’t had gazpacho before, it may sound odd or unappetizing to eat a cold tomato soup, but it really is unexpectedly good. It’s wonderfully refreshing, with nice crisp cucumbers and peppers and just a little kick of spice from the jalapenos. This soup is so chock full of vegetables and spices that there’s a great combination of (peeled, seeded, and skinned) vegetables in every bite. At the same time, the soup is nice and mild without any flavors that are too strong or overpowering. This is a fantastic end-of-summer work week lunch or a great light dinner served alongside some grilled chicken breasts.
Helpful Hints: This one is really a simple recipe, but it requires a lot of peeling, dicing, and seeding – so make sure to leave plenty of time. Depending on what kind of texture you prefer, you could throw as much or as little of vegetable mixture into the blender for a super chunky soup or one that is completely pureed. But I think that the recipe as written is a good balance. After all that work, it would be a shame to puree it all.
Source: Alton Brown
I made some slight changes to the recipe, and I also made a double batch. Here’s the recipe for a single batch (serving 4) with my changes.
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes (about 4 large)
Tomato juice (from tomatoes; directions follow)
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
Handful cilantro, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Fill a pot with water, and bring to a boil.
2. Make an X with a knife on the bottom of the tomatoes. Drop them into the boiling water, boil for about a minute, and then remove. Let cool.
3. Peel the tomatoes. Chop off the top of the tomato with the core, and then cut the tomatoes into quarters. Place a mesh sieve over a large bowl, and seed and juice each tomato portion over the sieve, pressing as much of the juice as possible through the sieve with your hands. You should end up with about 1 cup of juice. If necessary, supplement with store bought tomato juice, or just use whatever amount you end up with from the fresh tomatoes (which is what I did).
4. After juicing/seeding the tomatoes, chop them into small pieces. Place the tomatoes into the bowl with the juice. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
5. Transfer 1 cup of the mixture (use more – or all – if desired) to a blender, and puree (or use an immersion blender). Return the pureed mixture to the bowl, and stir to combine.
6. Cover and chill for at least two hours before serving.