Tomatoes are so good at this time of year. I like to eat them fresh as soon as I get them, with nothing but a little salt and pepper. It’s like eating sunshine. But they’re also plentiful, and it’s fun to do other things with them too. Anything you make with fresh, ripe tomatoes is bound to be delicious, but one of the best is Gazpacho, a cold, zesty soup, that comes from Spain
Gazpacho is filled with fresh vegetables, so it’s really good for you. It’s also super easy to make. And it’s delicious. The veggies are used raw, so it’s especially great to make in late summer, when you can get fresh veggies at their peak ripeness from your garden or a farmer’s market or farm stand. We got ours from our CSA share.
In fact, our last box from our local CSA had a bunch of tomatoes, an onion, some garlic, some peppers, and a cucumber, almost everything you need to make Creamy Gazpacho, a recipe I found in Cook’s Illustrated some years back. Problem was, the cucumber wasn’t actually a cucumber. It looked just like one, so it wasn’t until after I peeled it and cut it that I realized it was a zucchini. I didn’t have any cucumbers on hand, and I didn’t want to waste the peeled zucchini, so I decided to try it as a substitute, and it was really good. In fact, we liked the zucchini better than the cucumber, so it turned out to be a happy accident.
This soup is creamy, rather than chunky like most gazpachos. You puree it in a blender, drizzling in olive oil to make an emulsion. The flavor is bright and zesty, and it has a wonderful texture and mouth feel. We all love it, and it’s a great way to eat more vegetables. I hope you love this Creamy Gazpacho.
- 4-6 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1/2 zucchini, peeled and roughly chopped (you can substitute cucumber, but we think zucchini is better)
- 1/2 bell pepper (we prefer other colors, but green is OK), roughly chopped
- 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
- 1 small serrano pepper, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 slices of sandwich bread, crust removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss until well combined and bread is soaked.
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Transfer half the vegetable-bread mixture to a blender, and process for 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup of oil, and continue to blend until completely smooth, about a minute.
Strain soup through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl, using a rubber spatula to press the soup through the strainer.
Repeat with remaining vegetable-bread mixture and olive oil.
- 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
Stir in the vinegar and serve. It’s equally good with or without the optional finishes.
- 1 Tbsp cilantro, parsley, chives or basil, finely minced
- Greek yogurt or sour cream
If you’d like, dice remaining bell pepper, zucchini and 2 tomatoes. Stir a spoonful or two, along with minced herbs, in each bowl of soup. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated July/August 2010
How are Tomatoes Good for You?
According to Healthline.com, tomatoes are a good source of:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- Folate (a B vitamin)
Tomatoes are also a good source of fiber, and the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to reduced risks for heart disease and cancer.