I distinctly remember the first day of my Cuisines of the Mediterranean class at culinary school. Gazpacho was on menu to prepare and I was partnered with a classmate who was from a very small town in South Carolina. He had come up to study the year after he graduated college, in tow with his new dixie wife. Their move to the Hudson Valley marked the first time he had ventured out of his home state and you could literally taste the culture shock.
He had an underbite and a nasal twang and when he spoke, his jaw would protrude so only his lips moved while the rest of his face remained expressionless. But most notably, he would proceed every noun with "the damn":
"Then the damn chef told me to put more of the damn tomatoes in the damn gestapo."
That was more than 6 years ago and I still cannot think of gazpacho without that line!
I love gazpacho because it really does showcase the best of what summer has to offer. It's easy to make, light (yet filling), and is FULL of flavor. In fact, it tastes better the day after you make it, and even better the day after that.
Some puree theirs until smooth but I prefer a gestapo with texture. I also added watermelon because it adds some sweetness- and bread to help bind. This recipe makes 10 cups, but I like to make large batches and freeze some for later.
Adapted from Ina Garten
INGREDIENTS: (makes about 10 cups)
- 6 medium beefsteak tomatoes
- 2 cups ½” cubed watermelon, seedless
- 1 hothouse cucumber, peeled and seeded
- 1 bell pepper (I used orange)
- 1 small red onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon ancho chili powder (cayenne can be substituted)
- ½ cup good olive oil
- ½ tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 french bread sandwich roll, cut into quarter-size pieces
Roughly chop the tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, bell pepper and red onion into ½” pieces. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until coarsely chopped- do not over process. Add each to a large mixing bowl.
Place the red wine vinegar, chili powder, olive oil, salt and cubed bread into the food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the bread mixture to the vegetables. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.