Summertime for most of us here in Southern California really begins to warm up in August and September, and heating up the kitchen when it’s so hot outside seems less appealing. One of the best things about summer is all the abundant produce and so many no-cook solutions to mealtime — like this creamy summer gazpacho recipe.
Since tomatoes are at their ripest right now, making gazpacho makes perfect sense for a quick and easy meal either at home, to take with you to a picnic, or to enjoy outdoors while camping. Gazpacho is a mixture of tomatoes of any kind, cucumbers, scallions or spring onions, and bread. The bread acts as a thickening agent and makes this tomato-based soup creamy as a bowl of ice cream – well almost. Tomatoes have the perfect sweet-acidic balance that make for a great soup, and a splash of vinegar really perks up the mix and enhances flavor. You can leave this soup a little chunky if you prefer, or if you have a high-powered blender, puree until smooth. One bowl of gazpacho is pure heaven, and a real treat during the season.
6 slices rustic bread, crusts removed
1/4 cup champagne vinegar, or white wine vinegar
3 scallions, sliced
3 yellow tomatoes, sliced
2 large red tomatoes, any variety – sliced
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 large orange, red or yellow sweet pepper, cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 sprig fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1. Place chunks of bread in a bowl, along with champagne vinegar and 1/4 cup water. Let soak for 10 minutes. Slice and dice scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and garlic.
2. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. If it won’t all fit, process in two batches. Puree until smooth or leave chunky, and pour into a 1 1/2 quart sized container with fitted lid, and place in refrigerator to chill. Pour into bowls or cups. Enjoy!