I started with two giant heirloom tomatoes. I’m not exactly sure what the specific varieties were, but they were each approaching a pound in weight. I chose to remove the skin, but I could have simply left it on, and it wouldn’t have made a significant difference.
Next, I reached for two Persian cucumbers, a variety often preferred due to its thin skin and no need to peel, and trimmed the ends and in they went. I got a few cloves of garlic, and Anaheim chili pepper and a half a jalapeño pepper, both seeded and stems discarded. Then came the basil. Incredibly aromatic, I selected about a half-dozen perfect large bright green leaves. In they went.
I had juice from a Meyer Lemon, a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce, some good quality balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a seasoning of salt of pepper. My first homemade gazpacho of the season was just around the corner.
One of my favorite summer meals, converging some of the summer’s best offerings in a pulsating blender, this chilled raw soup really hits the spot on a warm summer afternoon or evening. I even sipped on a Mason jar full along with my scrambled eggs as a breakfast beverage, brimming with nutrients and flavor.
The types of peppers, tomatoes and even fresh herbs can be swapped to alter the final produce, as well as during a round rustic blender of smoother blend. I often will incorporate fresh mint into my concoctions and have even tossed in a few large chunks of watermelon, although that would not abide by a traditional gazpacho recipe.
Make sure to have some toasted bread rounds or garlicky croutons on hand to enjoy with your chilled soup.
Farmers’ Market Gazpacho
1½ pounds tomatoes — any variety you prefer, remove skins optional
2 medium cucumbers — ends trimmed, cut in half. If using Persian cucumbers there is no need to peel. If using general cucumbers, peel.
1 medium non-spicy pepper — seeds, membrane and seeds discarded; cut in half. I used an Anaheim chili pepper, but a pimento would also be a nice addition.
3 cloves garlic, peeled
½ jalapeño pepper. Omit if heat sensitive.
6 large basil leaves
Juice from 1 lemon (use Meyer if available)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender and secure lid. Pulsate the blender until desired consistency is reached.
If you need a little more liquid, you can add a little tomato juice. I prefer a more chucky consistency, but you can also blend smooth if desired.
Yield: Serves about 4.