The word Gazpacho always reminds me of the Nazi police but in reality it is a tomato based chilled soup often eaten when weather is warmish. In San Francisco we have what can hardly be described as a summer between May and August. Thus, we do things like wearing sandals and having picnics when our toes are cold and the wind is blowing our napkins around to fake ourselves into thinking it's warm. One of these things, which I am preparing to do on Friday is make Gazpacho. I seriously have to keep reminding myself not to type Gestapo. Ok, here's the recipe!
8 slices white bread, crusts removed, bread broken into big chunks2 pounds tomatoes, seeded
1 English cucumber, peeled
1 large white onion
1 green bell pepper, seeds and pith removed
2 garlic cloves, smashed
High quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup to 1 cup tomato juice, if needed
For the soup:
Soak the bread, in a medium bowl of water to soften, about 15 to 20 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and place in a large bowl. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, 2/3 of the cucumber, 1/2 the onion, and 1/2 the pepper and add to the bread. Add the garlic, season with salt, and drizzle with olive oil. Mix to combine and let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry (soups voted no on prop 8) and to let the salt pull some moisture out of the tomatoes.
Meanwhile, for the garnish, dice the remaining cucumber, onion and green pepper into perfect 1/4-inch dice and reserve.
Working in batches, puree the tomato/bread mixture in a blender with the vinegar. Blend in tomato juice to loosen the mixture, if needed. Remove soup to a large bowl and stir in about 1/2 cup of high quality olive oil. Taste for salt and add more, if needed.
Chill. Serve cold garnished with the diced cucumber, pepper and onion. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, if desired.