Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Farmers Market Gazpacho

Save running through a sprinkler, there is hardly anything more refreshing on a hot summer day than a cold cup of gazpacho. Even if the chilled tomato soup is not your jam, I urge you to try this recipe with the bounty of late summer produce available at the farmers markets right now—heirloom, cherry and grape tomatoes in all sorts of scarlet hues mean tons of contrastive yet complimentary nuanced flavors, and the supporting cast of cucumber, onion, and cubanelle peppers are locally abundant too. Basically, this Farmers Market Gazpacho recipe is a love letter to local produce—it’s excellent because it’s in season, making a simple puree of these vegetables in their raw element the best way to showcase their garden-fresh essence.

As I learned from my favorite lifestyle blog Cup of Jo, this NYT recipe is making the rounds. And while it will take you a whopping 7 minutes to whip up a batch (note I’ve omitted the straining step so prep is limited to chopping and blending), I encourage you to get fancy with the presentation as a fun way to glorify such a dazzling drinkable treat. I love the idea of serving the silky-smooth soup in frosted glasses or tumblers; you could even set out double shot glasses alongside a pitcher. With the sacredness of a fine dessert wine or aged spirit, I’ve been enjoying a small glass as soon as I get home from work each night; savoring every sip in obeisance to these precious final days of summer. 

Farmers Market Gazpacho (from New York Times)
Makes 8 to 12 servings (about 1 quart)

About 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cored and roughly cut into chunks
1-2 Italian frying (cubanelle) pepper or another long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
1 cucumber, about 8 inches long, peeled and roughly cut into chunks (or 2 Kirbys)
1 small mild onion (white or red), peeled and roughly cut into chunks
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, more to taste
¼ to ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste, plus more for drizzling
1 piece of deeply toasted country bread, such as sourdough (optional, I added for extra thickness/creaminess)

1. Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender or, if using a hand blender, in a deep bowl. Add bread, if using. (If necessary, work in batches.) Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
2. With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until texture is creamy.
3. Transfer to a large pitcher (preferably glass) and chill until very cold. Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. Serve in glasses, over ice if desired, or in a bowl; drizzled with a few drops of olive oil.

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