Posts Tagged 'Gazpacho Recipes'

Gazpacho

Summer is officially here and I am absolutely loving the produce.  It was my turn to host the Gourmet Club meeting this month, so in honor of summer and all of its bounty, I decided the theme would be “farmer’s market fresh.”  The goal was to use ingredients that might be found in a farmer’s market at this time of the year and also for the dishes to have a fresh edge – light, crisp, not cheese-laden, etc.

My fellow foodies brought the appetizers and desserts (they were fantastic!), and I handled the main part of the meal since I was hostessing.  After much (and I mean way, way too much) thought, I decided on Gazpacho with Grilled Ciabatta as our first course and Emeril’s Fish Provencal with Orzo and Zucchini Salad as the main.  I’m going to share the Gazpacho with you today (mostly because I had a chance to snap a photo of it before we ate it!).  It’s a bit time-consuming to prep all of the produce, but this is a fantastic dish for entertaining because it actually tastes *better* if you let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving it.  It’s great for summer too because there’s no heat involved; what sounds more refreshing than a chilled summer soup on a warm evening?

To start, I roughly chopped 1 hothouse cucumber (halved and seeded but not peeled), 2 red bell peppers (cored and seeded), 4 plum tomatoes (cored), and 1 red onion into 1-inch cubes.  (They don’t have to be perfect because everything ends up in the food processor anyway.)  I put each ingredient separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulsed until it was coarsely chopped.  The recipe cautions you not to overprocess the ingredients, and the exclamation point in the recipe is for good reason.  During my test run of the recipe, I think I pulsed each ingredient about seven times; Dr. O suggested the soup would make a nice salsa.  When I made it for Gourmet Club, I pulsed each ingredient about four times, which gave me just the right amount of chunkiness.  (I did process the red onion until it was pretty finely chopped, though.  Few people enjoy a big bite of raw red onion.)

After each ingredient was processed, I transferred it to a large bowl.  I added 3 minced garlic cloves, 3 cups of packaged tomato juice, 1/4 cup of white-wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon of kosher (coarse) salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper.  I thoroughly mixed everything together, covered the bowl, and chilled the gazpacho in the refrigerator until I was ready to serve it (about 8 hours, though you can chill it for far less time if necessary).

Gazpacho

This soup is super delish; it’s light, fresh, and flavorful.  I adore this recipe even more because it lets me make and clean up my mess long before company arrives.  This is another case, though, where the soup can only be as good as what you put into it.  Make sure you get the freshest possible produce and use top-quality olive oil – the flavor difference will be worth it!

TIPS:  If you’ve never specifically used a hothouse (or English) cucumber, they typically come in a plastic wrapper at the grocery store.  They have thinner skin, less conspicuous seeds, and milder flavor than a regular cucumber.

Recipe link: Gazpacho

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Tomato Gazpacho with Prosciutto-Mozzarella Sandwiches

Dallas has been hotter than you-know-where, which tends to make firing up the oven or stove less than appealing. The July/August 2008 issue of Everyday Food has a great spread on oven-free meals for summer, so I decided to try one – Tomato Gazpacho with Prosciutto-Mozzarella Sandwiches – that combined a few of my favorite flavors. All you need to make this recipe is a blender, a knife, and 20 minutes.

To make the gazpacho, I washed, cored and quartered 2 pounds of plum tomatoes (minus 2 tomatoes, which I diced to garnish the soup). I pureed the soup in two batches with 3 minutes of puree time per batch. Each batch was half of the tomatoes, 3/4 cup of tomato juice (1 1/2 cups total), 1/2 tablespoon of red-wine vinegar (1 tablespoon total), and 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil (1 tablespoon total). I transferred the pureed gazpacho to a large bowl, seasoned with salt and pepper, and refrigerated it until dinnertime. (It can be prepared up to 1 day ahead.)

To make the sandwiches, I split half of a French baguette horizontally. I drizzled each half with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (2 tablespoons total) and then layered the bottom half with 4 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto and 4 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese. I seasoned with salt and pepper (don’t forget this step!), closed the sandwich, and cut it into quarters. I dished the soup, garnished it with the diced tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil, and served the sandwiches alongside.

This was so good! I’ve never made gazpacho before (and I’ve had few opportunities to eat any kind of chilled soup at all, actually) and I was really pleased by the texture and flavor. The sandwiches were ridiculously simple but incredibly delicious – I *do* love prosciutto and mozzarella.

I think the key to this entire meal is to use high quality ingredients. I bought the best tomatoes, prosciutto and mozzarella I could find, and I used really flavorful extra-virgin olive oil. I also made a 5-minute trip to the store to make sure we’d have a fresh baguette for the sandwiches. Dr. O’s only complaint is that this really isn’t hearty or fulfilling enough for dinner – it’s more of a lunch. If you want to knock someone’s socks off with food for a daytime meeting or a picnic, though, this is a great way to do it.

TIPS: I have a handy little tool that makes coring tomatoes a snap. Check it out here.

Also, make sure you use *fresh* mozzarella cheese for the sandwiches. Fresh mozzarella is soft, typically white, and often packaged as an 8-ounce ball (though sometimes you’ll find it packaged in a plastic container with liquid). It has a really mild flavor, which makes seasoning the sandwiches all the more important. There’s actually a cheese shop here in Dallas – Paula Lambert’s Mozzarella Company – that is supposed to have *amazing* mozzarella. I might be due for a field trip this weekend…

Recipe link: Tomato Gazpacho with Prosciutto-Mozzarella Sandwiches




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