Recently it came to my attention that everyone in the whole world over drinks gazpacho … except me. I’ve never even tasted the stuff (that I’m aware of, anyway), so of course I had to make a batch right away, just to see what all the fuss was about. And then I was like, Ah-ha and YUM, and I promptly made two more batches. Now I keep a pitcher of gazpacho in the fridge and drink it all day long, just like all the other hip folk.
Making it is fun, and easy. I don’t measure a thing, instead just tossing in whatever veggies I have on hand. I send a kid out to the garden to pick a cucumber, a bell pepper, and a jalapeno while I collect an assortment of tomatoes — yellow, heirloom, juice, Roma — and cut a think slice of onion and peel a couple cloves of garlic.
I first chop the veggies in the food processor to get them nice and soupy before transferring to the blender. While they’re whirring into oblivion, I add and taste through the little hole in the lid: grinding in more black pepper, pouring in olive oil and vinegar, and sprinkling in salt, maybe cumin.
By the time I’m done, my ears are ringing (our blender is LOUD) and the gazpacho is silky smooth. And so nutrish!
My older daughter and husband are the only other gazpacho imbibers in the family, and they only drink small glasses at a time, but I don’t push it. I can eat just about anything, but am sensitive to beverage textures (once I disposed of a mug of chunky corn drink through the floor boards of our Guatemalan host’s home, only realizing the error of my ways when the family pigs suddenly — and loudly — materialized beneath me), so I get the whole cold soup-makes-me-gag reflex. However, good news: gazpacho is flexible! One of our Puerto Rican friends thought it was horrid cold but delicious heated in the microwave and garnished with parmesan cheese and chopped cherry tomatoes.
I often have a big glass of it for my lunch — today with tortilla chips, yesterday with corn-on-the-cob — or as a pick-me-up snack. I’m not sure which is more invigorating: the drink’s light, slight spiciness, or the self-righteousness, wholesome vibe that comes with drinking an entire garden in every sip.
Either way, it makes me feel freakin’ awesome.
Adapted from a variety of recipes and based on whatever’s in the garden.
Endlessly adaptable, feel free to add different herbs (parsley is yum), leafy greens, hot peppers, etc. I’ve read that in Spain they soak some bread overnight in the veggie juice and add that to the drink to bulk it up. Other people like to eat it in a bowl, garnished with chopped veggies and croutons. Yesterday I read about a version that called for chipotle peppers and fresh lime juice which I’m eager to try. As long as you have a few good juicy tomatoes, a top-notch olive oil, and some garlic, you’re good to go!
(I haven’t read this anywhere, but I can’t help wondering: would this be good with vodka? It’s basically a bloody mary, right?) (Ooo! What about with a dill pickle garnish? Must try!)
2-3 large juicy tomatoes, rough chopped
1 bell pepper, rough chopped
1 small to medium cucumber, rough chopped
½-inch slice of onion, rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
a bit of jalapeño
good olive oil, maybe ½ cup
red wine vinegar, maybe 2-3 tablespoons
Salt and black pepper
Blend the veggies in the food processor until soupy. Transfer to a blender and puree extensively. While blending, add the vinegar, salt and pepper, and then the olive oil in a thin stream. If you like a thinner drink, add a bit of cold water. Taste and correct seasoning. Chill.