Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Summer Cooking: Simple Gazpacho
Two things off the bat: 1) no bread crumbs — I hate the soggy mush they serve in so many restaurants — which means 2) this isn't an authentic gazpacho, boo hoo.

Ingredients for 2:
4-5 good ripe tomatoes, pay $2.99 a pound if you have to, otherwise make something else
1/2 cucumber, seedless English variety
2 cloves of garlic
several sprigs of fresh thyme — fresh, not dried
good quality vinegar, sherry, wine, or balsamic
good extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Dice the tomatoes, or if you are lazy, coarsely chop the tomatoes in a food processor — the result of which, however, doesn't look as nice as the hand chopped variety. Some people like to puree the tomatoes & then strain out the bit of skin & seeds, I am not sure why. Add salt & pepper to the tomatoes & set aside.

Dice the cucumber. Some people add chopped green peppers, you may be one of them — I hate green peppers. Add to the tomatoes.

Mince the garlic. Strip the leaflets of the thyme sprigs, give a coarse chop. Add garlic & thyme to the tomatoes & cucumber.

Add vinegar & olive oil. Mix throughly & set in the refrigerator to cool for about 30 min - 1 hour, or not. Eat with bread, if you really must have bread in the gazpacho, tear some chunks and throw it in.

What else? If the tomatoes are very acidic, add less vinegar. If the tomatoes lack in sweetness, add a bit of sugar. Try a few times to find you preferred balance of the sweet vs acidic vs salt. As for fresh herbs, oregano works well, so does mint. Don't add too many varieties at once — often simpler is better. The really great thing about this is you don't need to turn on the stove.