Recently, I made gazpacho--a little early in the season, I admit...but I had a craving & every time I make it, I am reminded how incredibly perfect this dish is. There a million different ways to make gazpacho, and I've never made a batch I didn't like...I'll share my current fave below. But I think why this soup appeals to me, is that, like most rustic food or Povera Cucina: as the Italians call it--cooking of the poor or Peasant food--Gazpacho has ancient roots and came about because the ingredients are what the people of Southern Spain, in Andalusia, had readily available to them. They didn't go out and buy the ingredients to make Gazpacho, they made Gazpacho because those were the ingredients they had out their back door--in the garden...I love that...I kind of aspire to that....
My grandfather immigrated to the US around 1920 from Italy. He and my grandmother always kept a big vegetable garden at their house on Long Island in New York. Basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, garlic, eggplant...on and on...it was their way for many, many years and I love that...I like to think that's why I do it, because its in my genes--I just love the idea of dinner as a result of my own physical labor and also, because it just happens to be what is growing out my back door...
Gazpacho with Red Pepper
2 red bell peppers
3 scallions, sliced
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 small tomato diced
1/2 jalapeno chile chopped, remove seeds for less heat
2 1/2 cups vegetable juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper
1. Peel, seed and finely dice cucumbers and bell peppers. Place in bowl and combine with garlic, scallions, tomato, cilantro & jalapeno.
2. Add vegetable juice, oil & vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Optional: you may use a hand blender or add some to a regular blender to puree for a less chunky, more smooth soup-like texture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till ready to serve. Best if can let sit for an hour or two before serving. Garnish with cilantro and serve cold or at room temperature.