Hooey it’s sizzling hot out there, we’ve got a real summer now. Makes me hungry for gazpacho, even though it’s hardly tomato season in Minnesota, at least not yet. But never mind that, since in a pinch, canned tomatoes beautifully anchor a tasty version. So if a cold-salty-crunchy-tangy gazpacho is your perfect antidote to a hot, steamy June day, I say try the recipe below, with canned whole tomatoes and their juices, and you’ll be refreshed. (This is a particularly lovely version – the garlicky egg and bread crumbs add layers of texture and flavor) –
Adapted from Mom’s Gazpacho by Elizabeth Shepard, editor in chief of Epicurious
2 cups chopped garden-fresh (or canned) tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped green or yellow pepper
1 c. chopped cucumber, seeds removed
1/2 c. finely chopped red onion
1/3 c. olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 c. beef broth (optional)
1/4 c. red wine vinegar (I added more, I like gazpacho to be rather tart/salty)
1/4 c. finely minced parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano (fresh works nicely as well)
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire
46 oz. tomato juice
freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 hard cooked egg
1/2 c. plain bread crumbs
Tabasco, to taste (for me, that means lots)
Garnish (optional), chopped olives, diced avocado
In a pot or large bowl, combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, cold beef broth, red wine vinegar, parsley, oregano, Worcestershire, tomato juice, and pepper to taste. Stir. (At this point, I pureed half the mixture and stirred it back in. Totally optional.)
Place garlic and hard-cooked egg in a small bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mash together with a fork. Stir into liquid. Add bread crumbs and stir so that they dissolve into the liquid.
Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, vinegar, and/or Tabasco to taste. Chill for at least 4 hours and serve. Garnish with chopped olives and diced avocado if desired.
Elizabeth Shepard’s notes:
• The recipe serves eight, but like homemade tomato sauce, its flavor improves with age – you can store it in the refrigerator and eat it for about a week.
• Why mash the garlic with egg and salt? To make a garlic-infused paste that adds body and substance to the tomato broth.
• Use kosher salt to bring out the flavors of the vegetables.
• Try to chop the vegetables so that they’re small but not minced or pulverized, and don’t worry if the sizes aren’t uniform. The pieces should be small enough to chew but big enough to recognize.
• If you prefer a more elegant presentation, emulsify the chilled mixture before serving. Seasoning is a very personal matter. I tend to like my gazpacho pungent and sharp, with salt, lemon, and onion flavors lingering on the palate. If you want a spicier soup, add 2 tsp. of minced jalapeno peppers. To make vegetarian gazpacho, substitute vegetable broth for beef broth.