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GAZPACHO

Gazpacho is a cold summer soup that originated in Spain. It has many different variations both in terms of ingredients and fabrication methods.  Basic ingredients will always include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, and some kind of acid, (lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, or some combination thereof).  From there, other additives include olive oil, tomato juice, tomatillos, croutons, and various types of herbs.  See also Article: Garden Variety

6 medium tomatoes, peeled
1 medium to large Spanish onion
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 poblano pepper, seeds and stem removed
2 jalapenos (optional).
2 cloves garlic
1 small batch of cilantro, stems included, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper to taste


Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds and then immerse in ice water. Remove the skins.

Roughly chop the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, peppers, and garlic and puree them in a food processor until the desired consistency is achieved.  You are not seeking to pulverize the vegetables.  I aim for a mildly coarse texture. 

Chop the cilantro separately, (it tastes better chopped by hand), then add it, the lime juice and salt and pepper to the soup.

Chill the soup and serve. If you can chill it overnight so much the better since the flavors will deepen and improve with time.

Some cooks peel their tomatoes and some do not.  I think peeling them allows for a smoother soup. Others also seed the tomatoes but this can result in the loss of much of their juice, a vital liquid base for the soup. If you must seed the tomatoes, do so over a sieve above a bowl so you can capture the juice. Another option is the addition of canned tomato juice.  I assume some people add this to make the soup more fluid.  But canned tomato juice completely undermines the spirit of this soup, which in my mind is capturing the essence of fresh, unprocessed vegetables. Water and/or ice cubes are also sometimes used as thinners but they will dilute the flavors somewhat.

If you desire a soup with a finer texture there are better alternatives to canned tomato juice or water.  The first is to increase the time the ingredients spend in the food processor. If this is not smooth enough, you can then push the soup through a fine sieve.

Depending on the heat level you desire, you can eliminate or increase the jalapenos, or switch to an even hotter pepper such as serranos. Poblanos, which contribute negligible heat, can be replaced by bell pepper if you like.
 

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