I tell you what.
It is HOT.
I’m going delirious.
I’m making brash decisions like buying produce I don’t like at the farmers market.
I don’t like cucumbers.
Or raw tomatoes.
Or raw onions.
But the other day as I was stuffing kleenex under my armpits and daydreaming about ice baths, I realized there could be nothing better than chilled, summery, vegetable soup.
I imagined myself on some beach on the Mediterranean coast. I’m wearing a flowy sundress, sunglasses, and my hair is in a knot on the top of my head, but unlike my normal do, this one actually looks cute instead of sloppy.
I’m also eating gazpacho with some rustic white bread baked lovingly that morning by some lady with a buttery European accent. I spoon some of the soup onto the bread before biting into it, which I never do.
I tell you, the heat is making me delirious!
What really happened is that I walked into the door of my house, cranked my thermostat to 70 degrees, stripped off half my clothes, threw my hair in a sloppy knot and started tossing fresh veggies in a food processor.
24 hours later I changed my mind about cucumbers. This soup hit the spot like no other summer dish could.
Fresh Summer Gazpacho
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa
About 4 healthy servings
1 large cucumber, seeded and diced, but not peeled
2 large FRESH tomatoes, diced
1 large yellow pepper, diced
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomato puree, in a jar or homemade (not canned!)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used a combo of regular and this “Orange-Saffron” flavored one I had on hand!)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Roughly chop cucumber, tomatoes, yellow pepper, shallot, and garlic in a food processor. Process until chunky but not smooth. Pour processed veggies into a large glass bowl. Stir in tomato puree, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cover and place in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Flavors will develop more the longer it stays in the fridge, so I highly recommend overnight!
Serve with a hunk of rustic bread. I used the recipe for No-Knead Bread from the NY Times, but used 2/3 white bread flour and 1/3 whole wheat flour.
Keep in mind that since this is not cooked at all, you should NOT used canned ingredients! It will leave a nasty metallic taste in the soup and ruin the whole thing. Use fresh or jarred without salt or preservatives wherever possible.