Thursday, August 14, 2014

Gazpacho


Gazpacho! What in the world is gazpacho? The origins of the word itself are unknown, though theories abound. Some people believe it comes from an Arabic word for "soaked bread"; others claim it has roots in the Hebrew word for "to break into pieces." If you watch the video of Ina Garten preparing this recipe, though, you'll hear her call it a "salad soup." Elsewhere I've seen it described less appetizingly as "liquid salad," which sounds like something a catatonic hospital patient would receive through a tube. I like to think of it as a salsa soup, which is what I called it when my kids asked what we were having for dinner and I didn't want to say "liquid salad." I really couldn't see them running to the table after me calling... 

"Come and get your liquid salad, kids!!"

If you're someone who enjoys salsa, you're highly likely to be a fan of gazpacho. One of my salsa-loving friends refers to tortilla chips as "salsa transportation devices" because, when it's good salsa, don't you really just want the salsa? The chip itself is definitely not the main attraction. Well, what if you didn't have to bother with the chip for propriety's sake? What if you could just eat the whole bowl of delicious salsa? Guess what, my friends?

YOU CAN!!!

And THAT is the meaning of gazpacho.

(You may, of course, have to get over the fact that it's a cold soup, which seems like a contradiction in terms. But once you do, you'll be thankful. As a colossal fan of soup, I can tell you it's a delightfully sneaky way to still get to eat soup in the summer. We enjoyed it with pesto grilled cheese sandwiches and I thought it was the perfect combination. So go get grinding and chopping--summertime is liquid salad gazpacho time!) 

Gazpacho
(Barely adapted from Ina Garten)

Ingredients:

1 cucumber, halved and seeded but not peeled
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 c. tomato juice
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Directions:

1. Chop the cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, and red onion into 1-inch cubes. Place each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until coarsely chopped (about the texture of a very chunky salsa).

2. After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add garlic, tomato juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, mixing well.

3. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serves 4-6.

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