Posts Tagged 'Gazpacho'

Green Grape and Marcona Almond Gazpacho

I’m up to my eyeballs in Thai recipes that I’m testing for this month’s gourmet club meeting, but I realized today that I haven’t posted a word about last month’s amazing Spanish-themed meeting.  We had a terrific meal!  I was on appetizer duty and so much of the Spanish recipe content out there centers around tapas, so I had lots to choose from.  My final choices were Tomato-Rubbed Bread with Manchego Cheese (the favorite!), Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Shrimp Salad (soooo good), and the one recipe I actually managed to photograph: Green Grape and Marcona Almond Gazpacho.  I’ve made tomato and cucumber-based gazpacho before, and this one was so different.  It’s creamy, fruity, nutty, and easily made ahead – perfect for entertaining outside in the summer.  Here’s the recipe:

Green Grape and Marcona Almond Gazpacho
Makes about 8 cups

Ingredients:
1 large garlic clove
2 1/2 large seedless cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice (5 cups), plus 1/4 cup finely diced peeled cucumber, for garnish
1 1/4 cups whole green grapes, plus 1/4 cup diced grapes, for garnish
3/4 cup Marcona almonds
3 cups crustless 1/2-inch dice of good white bread
4 scallions, white and tender green parts, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 cup packed watercress leaves
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:
In a small saucepan of boiling water, cook the garlic clove for 10 minutes; drain.

In a blender, working in batches, puree the garlic with the 5 cups of diced cucumber, the 1 1/4 cups of whole green grapes, 1/2 cup of the almonds and the bread cubes, scallions, watercress, water, olive oil, and sherry vinegar until very smooth. Transfer the soup to a large pitcher and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

To serve, chop the remaining 1/4 cup of almonds.  Stir the gazpacho, then pour it into shallow bowls.  Garnish the soups with the finely diced cucumber and grapes and the chopped almonds and serve.

Make ahead: The gazpacho can be refrigerated overnight.

Source: FoodandWine.com

My notes:

  • I left out the watercress because my grocery store didn’t have any.
  • I was able to find Marcona almonds at Costco.  I had to buy more than I needed (of course!), but they’re incredibly delicious and made a great snack.
  • If you go to Costco for the almonds, you might at well get English cucumbers while you’re there as well.  You can get three for the price you would typically pay for two at a regular grocery store.

Green Grape and Marcona Almond Gazpacho

I would say this soup is best suited for adventurous eaters since it’s served cold and the flavors are a bit unexpected.  Visually, one might think avocado or peas, but the flavor is definitely a combination of fruit and nuts.  We all agreed that there was almost a pear flavor (despite the fact that the recipe didn’t contain any pears), which was, I think, a combination of the cucumber and the grapes.  The almonds stood out wonderfully in the flavor profile, and they also gave the soup its creamy texture.  This gazpacho would be a fantastic, light first course for an outdoor dinner party or would make a great addition to any Spanish-themed menu.

Recipe links: Tomato-Rubbed Bread with Serrano Ham (I substituted Manchego), Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Shrimp Salad, and Green Grape and Marcona Almond Gazpacho

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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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