Sunday, July 03, 2005

The best gazpacho you've ever tasted

The tomatoes have started to kick in for real now, despite the rain. If anything, I think the stormy weather may end up staggering the harvest a little--a welcome favor.

I beg you to try this. I'm really proud of it. Don't be surprised when it turns out dusky-pink instead of bright red; that's how it's supposed to be.


2 medium cucumbers, peeled and coarsely chopped
5 medium tomatoes, peeled* and coarsely chopped
1/2 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds and pith removed, coarsely chopped
1 large or 2 medium green onions, both white and green parts, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 to 4 c. (depending on density) good rustic white bread, crusts removed, crumbled
3 c. cold water
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
3 tsp. good sea salt
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. tomato paste

In a large, deep bowl, combine cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, green onion, and bread. Toss well.

Add water, vinegar, and salt. Mix thoroughly and, in two batches, transfer to a blender and puree for about 1 minute or until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the olive oil and tomato paste.

Cover and chill at least two hours. Stir or whisk again to recombine before serving.

* Do this by cutting a cross in the flower end of each tomato and dropping it in boiling water for a minute or so until you can peel the skin back with your fingers. It is surprisingly easy, and important too, so please don't skip this step.