Sooner or later this summer you’ll be confronted by a mountain of ripe tomatoes and no time to preserve them. With any luck the timing will be right and your garden will also yield the pepper, cucumber, and onions this recipe uses. I first made this twist on gazpacho for one of our HarvesTable outdoor dinners. Using a blend of yellow and red tomatoes yields an exceptionally attractive dish. Mild, sweet heirloom tomatoes are especially good for gazpacho. I prefer a sweet onion like Walla Walla or Vidalia. Any color pepper will work. Yellow or orange peppers lend a slightly milder taste and prettier presentation, but green, lilac or chocolate peppers are great if the tomatoes are red. I happened to have on hand in my freezer a quarter of a sourdough loaf from Poilâne Bakery in Paris — you may not be so fortunate but do make the effort to use really good bread. Ciabatta or a sturdy country loaf will work, white or wheat but not grainy.
Make a day ahead of serving to let the flavors blend.
– Joan, 6 July 2018
- 3 lbs. ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3-5 green onions, green and white parts finely chopped
- 1 green or other colored pepper, finely chopped
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 small hot pepper, seeded and chopped, optional
- 2 tablespoons roasted garlic purèe or 2 raw cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
- 1 slice bread, about 1/2″ thick
- chopped chives for garnish
Roughly chop 2/3 of the tomatoes, half of the cucumber and pepper and green onions. Place in a large bowl with garlic, hot pepper if using, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Toss until well mixed and set aside.
Toss remaining tomatoes, cucumber, pepper and finely chopped onion with 1/2 teaspoon salt and put into a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl for about 1 hour. After an hour there should be at least 1/4 cup of juices drained from the vegetables. Break the piece of bread into pieces and add them to this juice. Let it soak for a couple of minutes, then toss it all (including any juice that’s not soaked in) with the chopped vegetables. Process this mixture in a food processor or blender for 30 seconds. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and continue blending until very smooth.
Stir vinegar and the chopped vegetables into the processed soup. Season to taste. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve cold with chopped chive garnish.