I am not sure if the rest of you has been as fortunate as I have been to have a generous neighbor with a large tomato garden, but I have had homegrown tomatoes in abundance in my kitchen lately. (Thus why I was canning Small Batch Chipotle Salsa a couple of weeks ago. ;) ) One thing I really look forward to making when the summer tomatoes start turning red and juicy is to make a nice fresh chilled gazpacho. There is just something about taking fresh vegetables and turning them into something simple and amazing.
What you will need:
7-8 small/medium tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 of a large cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
7-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp of dry oregano
Salt & pepper, to taste
The tomatoes from my neighbor's garden have been particularly thick-skinned. I am told it is due to the hot summer that we have had. Thick tomato skins have no place in my Summer Gazpacho though. ;) So, how can you easily slip those skins off without actually cooking the tomatoes? Easy! Just score the bottoms of each tomato with a X. Plunge them into boiling water for 1-2 minutes.
Drain the tomatoes in a colander and then quickly plunge them into an ice bath. Allow them to cool in the ice bath for about 5 minutes. The skins should just easily peel off. Then you can chop your tomatoes. I left the seeds in. But you can seed the tomatoes if you prefer.
This gazpacho comes together very easily once you have all the veggies chopped. Just toss all the vegetables including the tomatoes into a medium bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, basil, celery salt, oregano, and salt & pepper. Toss to mix well.
Now take half of the veggie mixture and process in a blender or food processor until just smooth. Pour the veggie puree back into the bowl with the remaining chopped vegetables and mix well. Chill for at least 1-2 hours before serving.
Gazpacho is one of those dishes that gets better the longer it can chill and allow the flavors to mingle and merry. This recipe made about 4 servings, so I was able to have a bowl the day after for lunch. Can I just say wow? Even better the next day, my friends. :)