Thursday, August 19, 2010
Stone Soup Farm CSA: Week Eleven (and Gazpacho!)
People keep talking about how summer is winding down, and folks, I'm not having any of it. Nope. Nosiree, not interested. Do not talk to me about back to school sales or beef stew or halloween, because I am not ready for summer to end. I mean, look at that pile of vegetables. Does that say "end of season" to you? We got: a bunch of huge scallions, six tomatoes, two pattypan squashes, spinach, basil, cucumbers, potatoes and some really gorgeous string beans in purple and yellow.
I'm not sure what possessed me to make gazpacho with this haul. I first had gazpacho in the eighth grade when I was intrigued by the name - say it with me. gazzzzPacho! throaty G, smooth Z, explosive P, and a nice long ooooo at the end - However, I was at some chain restaurant (maybe Chili's?) when I ordered it and when I tasted it all I could think was ugh, runny salsa... and they're passing this off as soup? I spent the next fifteen years saying I didn't like cold soup.
Dudes, I was wrong. I do like cold soup. This is just exactly the ticket for those insanely humid days when just picking up a knife is enough to make you break a sweat, because even though it involves a fair bit of chopping, you let the blender do all the hard work.
Simple, Straightforward Gazpacho
Because you blend the whole thing up till smooth, there's no need to peel the tomatoes, but you do want to peel the cucumbers because the skins can be waxy. You can use any kind of tomato you like, here. I used two CSA tomatoes, plus a few romas from our container garden. Imperfect tomatoes can be used in gazpacho, too, because there's no need for lovely presentation of whole slices, you just chop, blend, and chill. Easy and delicious! Oh, and if you want this soup to be vegetarian or vegan, skip the worcestershire sauce (it has anchovies) or use soy sauce instead.
1 1/2 lbs tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
1 huge or 2 regular cloves garlic, finely chopped or passed through a press
scant half an onion, roughly chopped
2 small cucumbers, peeled, roughly chopped
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper
1/2 an avocado, cubed, for garnish (optional)
Combine the tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, onion, cucumbers, vinegar, worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce), parsley, olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper in a blender or food processor, or in a pot if using an immersion blender (that's what I did). Blend to desired consistency (but don't leave it too chunky or you'll end up with the cold runny salsa thing). Chill for at least an hour or up to overnight. Ladle into bowls, garnish with avocado if you like, drizzle with a little more olive oil, and serve. Garlicky toasted baguette makes a nice accompaniment.