In August and September, I’m always looking for ways to use my bounty of fresh homegrown tomatoes. While they are best eaten raw and as unprocessed as possible, there comes a time when there are just so many of them that I have to come up with recipes that call for lots of them.
Gazpacho is a great way to use lots of homegrown tomatoes that takes full advantage of their robust flavor. I’ve tried many recipes over the years—there are lots of great choices on the web. But my favorite is from The Natural Gourmet by Annemarie Colbin, founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute in Manhattan, a school that’s been on my wish list to attend for decades.
As I confessed in last week’s Meatless Monday blog, I don’t enjoy peeling and seeding tomatoes, so I usually skip the first step in this recipe, and the results are still excellent. I just core and chop the tomatoes and put them in the Vitamix with the rest of the ingredients. But if you don’t mind the mess, by all means, do the first step.
This recipe calls for the addition of sourdough bread, a traditional gazpacho ingredient. The bread adds volume and heft, but if you are on a gluten-free diet you can certainly omit the bread without any loss in flavor.
from The Natural Gourmet
8 to 10 ripe tomatoes
1 to 2 t sea salt, for salting tomatoes
3 medium cucumbers
3 small green bell peppers (I used one large red bell pepper this time around)
6 whole scallions
3 to 6 cloves of garlic
3 slices sourdough bread
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2-1/4 to 3 cups water (I used only two cups)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 to 1/3 cup umeboshi vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise, sprinkle the cuts sides generously with the salt. Let sit for 30 minutes, salted side down.
Meanwhile, peel and seed the cucumbers and cut into one-inch pieces. Place in a medium bowl.
Cut the green peppers in half and remove the seeds. Chop into one-inch pieces. Place in a separate bowl.
Trim the scallions and chop them into pieces about 1/2-inch long; set aside.
Peel the garlic cloves and put them through a press or mince very finely; add to the peppers.
Remove the crust from the bread and cut each slice into cubes; add to the peppers.
Squeeze the seeds from the tomatoes and cut into quarters; add to the peppers.
Put the tomatoes, half the cucumbers, bread, peppers, garlic, basil and 1/2 cup of the parsley into a blender, 2 to 3 cups at a time, adding a little water to each batch. Blend at medium speed until the vegetables and bread are pureed. Pour the puree into a large bowl and add the oil, lime juice, umeboshi vinegar and black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
Place the remaining cucumbers, scallions and parsley into separate bowls to use as garnish. Chill the soup for several hours before serving.