Classic Gazpacho

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Served up during the hot, dry summers in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, gazpacho is a refreshing, tomato-based chilled soup. Although traditional recipes and techniques vary from village to village, the most common ingredients are tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and onions, which come together in a bright, surprisingly satisfying soup. Unfortunately, many modern recipes turn out bland, thin gazpachos with little character. We set out to develop an authentic, foolproof recipe with fresh, vibrant vegetables in a bright tomato broth. We started by chopping the classic vegetables by hand (as opposed to using a food processor), which ensured that they retained their color and firm texture. Letting them sit briefly in a sherry vinegar marinade guaranteed well-seasoned vegetables, and a combination of tomato juice and ice cubes, which helped chill the soup, provided the right amount of liquid. Chilling our soup for a minimum of 4 hours was critical to allow the flavors to develop and meld. Use a Vidalia, Maui, or Walla Walla onion here. This recipe makes a large quantity because the leftovers are so good, but it can be halved if you prefer. Traditionally, diners garnish their gazpacho with more of the same diced vegetables that are in the soup, so we cut some extras. Serve with Garlic Croutons, chopped pitted black olives, and chopped hard-cooked eggs. For a finishing touch, serve in chilled bowls.

1½ pounds tomatoes, cored and cut into ¼-inch pieces

2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch pieces

2 small cucumbers (1 peeled, both sliced lengthwise, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch pieces)

½ small sweet onion or 2 large shallots, chopped fine

⅓  cup sherry vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and pepper

5 cups tomato juice

8 ice cubes

1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

Extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Combine tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onion, vinegar, garlic, and 2 teaspoons salt in large bowl (at least 4-quart) and season with pepper to taste. Let stand until vegetables just begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato juice, ice cubes, and hot sauce, if using. Cover and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
  2. Discard any unmelted ice cubes and season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, drizzling individual portions with oil.

 

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