Now that summer is over and good tomatoes are getting harder to find, I'm finally getting around to posting my gazpacho recipe. It holds no claim to being particularly original or different, but several people who say they don't normally like gazpacho have praised it, and I certainly like it.
Like any gazpacho, this one wins or loses entirely on the quality of the tomatoes you use. In other words, don't skimp. You want big fat heirloom tomatoes. When possible, I use at least three different kinds, which gives the soup a nice complexity.
The other thing to know about this recipe is that it's an approximation. Gazpacho is one of those things I tend to wing. But I've also written it so that you can add the base a little at a time to taste.
1 medium shallot
1 garlic clove
6-8 fresh chives
1/4 bunch of fresh parsley
1 red bell pepper
1 cubanelle pepper
3 Large Heirloom tomatoes (cut into large pieces)
(1) Roast the peppers over an open flame until the skin is completely black. If you don't have a grill going or a gas stove, you can cut the peppers in half, remove the stems and seeds, and lay them flat on tinfoil beneath a toaster oven broiler or your oven's broiler until the skin is black. Run the peppers under cold water, removing the seeds and stems if you haven't already, and peel the skin off. Set the peppers aside.
(2) Peel the shallot and garlic, then place the first four ingredients in a food processor. Process until finely minced. Spatula the mixture out of the food processor and set aside in a bowl.
(3) Add the roasted peppers to the food processor and puree.
(4) With the peppers still in the processor, add the tomatoes and process to the consistency you like. Add salt to taste.
(5) Add the shallot/garlic/herbs mixture to the tomatoes a little at a time--in the food processor if you're going for a smooth gazpacho, or in a bowl if you're going for a chunkier texture. Add the mixture to the tomatoes until you have the balance you want.
Note: For a truly smooth gazpacho, use a blender. I start off with the food processor, and after the five steps above I put it in a bowl and use a hand blender.
Note: Most cubanelle peppers are not particularly spicy, but if you're a wilting violet, you may want to test it out before adding it. It can always be replaced with an even more benign pepper.