Normally, when tomatoes start coming in, I like eating them right off the vine with a sprinkle of sea salt. But this summer, tomatoes aren’t at their best. That’s because the late blight fungus has taken a severe toll on this year’s tomato crop. So if your tomatoes aren’t looking too great, why not use them to make gazpacho?
Here’s Chef Renee Marton’s version:
“Salad in a glass” describes this version of gazpacho. While some prefer it chunky and others smooth, I like it in between. This recipe is easy to make and serve, always available if you keep a pitcher full in your refrigerator.
Garnish with rye croutons, toasted almond slivers or lots of chopped chives. Serve chilled in old fashioned glasses, with a straw and spoon. If you’re lucky, you may have some vintage soup bowls lying around, adding a fun retro touch to the whole enterprise.
3 pounds fresh, juicy and really ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (save the seeds and juice)*
1 large red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed and coarsely chopped
1 large green bell pepper—same as above
1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into large dice
2 cucumbers. If the cucumbers have a thick skin, peel them completely and remove the seeds, then cut in large dice
1 bunch Italian parsley, coarsely chopped, including the thinner stems. Discard the large woody stems.
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup very good olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 servings (there’s no point in making less since you can store left overs in the fridge)
Equipment: you will need to use a blender (not a food processor)
Make this soup a few hours in advance so the flavors “marry. ”Fill the blender 1/3 full with tomatoes and juice. Add of each of the other ingredients but do not fill the blender to the top—the ingredients need room to expand as they turn into soup. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Remove top, stir if necessary, and continue blending until you get a consistency that is thick but not too chunky.
Repeat the process until you have used up all the ingredients. Then stir them all together so that they mix well. Chill several hours at least.
*To peel tomatoes, take out the core, draw an “x” opposite the core on the bottom of the tomato, and put in boiling water for 30 seconds. Chill right away in iced water. The skins will slip right off.