Barbara Kafka

Gazpacho

(from Vegetable Love, page 103) 

This gazpacho first appeared in a cookbook that James Beard wrote with Carl Jerome for Cuisinart. Jim asked me for a recipe, and, flattered, I came up with this. I still like it and so, it seems, do many readers. 

It is the paradigm of a raw soup originally made by farm workers, using what they had in the fields around them as well as a little olive oil. It is not meant to be a purée, but chunky, and for that the food processor, for those as lazy as I am (or a large knife, for the vigorous) is the best tool. The vegetables  are cut up to process evenly but not to purée. Be sure to make this far enough ahead so that is gets really cold. I often double the recipe.

It is only one of the many Spanish gazpachos ( in Barcelona I had a version that was not only puréed, but also sieved), but it is probably the most familiar to today’s eaters. 

1 small Bermuda or other sweet onion, cut into chunks

2 firm small cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks

2 small green bell peppers, cored, seeded, deribbed and cut into chunks

6 medium-large ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled and cut into eighths

5 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

1 cup tomato juice, or as needed

½ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon pure chili powder or 1 small fresh chili pepper, halved

1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste

Finely chop the onion in a food processor, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Scrape into a large metal bowl. Repeat the process with the cucumbers, then with the green peppers, adding each to the onions. Process 5 of the tomatoes until finely chopped but not puréed. Add to the other chopped vegetables.

Process the remaining tomato with the garlic, tomato juice, oil and chili powder until a smooth liquid has formed. Combine with the chopped vegetables. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Before serving, add the salt. If the soup is too thick, add more tomato juice (or a combination of tomato juice and beef broth).

Makes about 6 cups; serves 4 as a first course

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