DISCLAIMER: Apparently, gazpacho is one of those dishes where everyone gets VERY defensive about how you make it. Therefore, I just want everyone to know that this is just a gazpacho I happened to make, not how I recommend you make gazpacho every summer for the rest of your life. K? K.
So it recently, finally, started to feel like summer in NYC, which means that when you live in a 4th Floor walk-up, you don't want a panini or something else hot for lunch because it's too humid for that. Also, I've developed an all-of-a-sudden aversion to sandwich bread. So I needed something for lunch that didn't involve heat or sandwiches.
Enter, gazpacho. I LOVE gazpacho: it's one of my "sucker dishes," like pulled pork or anything with pistachios where, if it's on the menu, I'll order it. I'd never made gazpacho myself, so I thought I would give it a try. After a precursory search of Epicurious (which I like even better now that it has an iPhone app) and perusing some very scary comments about every single recipe sucking, I settled on Chunky Gazpacho from Bon Appetit, April 1993. People seemed to hate it the least and it didn't have MAYO in it, like other recipes I've seen. So here's what you need:
1/2 small onion, sliced (I used red because it's a little spicier, I think)
2 large garlic cloves
3 TB olive oil
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
2 pounds tomatoes
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, diced (I used yellow because I'm not huge on green peppers)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
2 TB tomato paste
Tomato Juice (optional...I didn't option)
And here's what you do:
Puree first four ingredients in the food processor, which makes a really nice color:
Ok then there's this weird step where you take 1/2 cup of the chopped tomatoes, cukes and pepper and stick them in a bowl. This is so you can serve it all pretty with a pile of this stuff on top...honestly...I did it, but it's sort of a waste of time unless you're serving this at a dinner. Despite that, I do want to take a moment to say that seeding cucumbers by slicing them in half and then scooping the seeds out with a spoon is totally the way to go. Once you do that you can chop them however you like, especially if they're just going in the food processor.
Ok once everyone's in there, blend until chunky puree forms. Season to taste with hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl and cover soup (if you did the chopping thing reserve those separately for aforementioned presentational brownie points). Chill at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.
So, here's the thing. When I was little, there was this fruit stand a mile from my house that sold the best salsa fresca ever. It was all tomatoes and garlic and spice, and it was just perfect. I miss it very much. This gazpacho kind of reminded me of eating a less awesome version of that salsa fresca...only a whole bowl of it...which is not really the point of gazpacho. I don't think thinning it with tomato juice would have helped, either. I have to say that, while I'm not sure what the key difference between salsa fresca and gazpacho is, whatever it is, this gazpacho did not have it. All I can say is, please, god, don't let that difference be mayo.