Everyone says exactly the same thing when they taste this gazpacho.
“Oh-my-God.” (And there’s also a large number who follow up with, “and I don’t even like gazpacho.”)
Well, they’re right. This is God’s work. I can hardly take the credit. I didn’t create the molecular perfection of sweet and succulent heirloom tomatoes which grace us with their presence on Planet Earth and are the flavor stars of this gazpacho. I don’t even know how to grow tomatoes and even if I tried, I’d probably find a way to fudge them up. I do however know how to shop for them. If you don’t make it a point to buy heirloom tomatoes in the summer, you should start. This is the perfect recipe to begin with.
Now that said, let me tell you what I do get credit for:
One, I consulted the Spaniards for specific recipe ideas. I learned to use sherry vinegar which is delicate and adds only a mild zing. Two, I omitted the use of bell pepper which would overpower the flavor of the sublime heirlooms and would also make this summer soup hard to digest. Three, I decided to purée half and finely chop the other half of the ingredients (done in a cuisinart) to create the perfect smooth and crunchy texture. Four, I called for the yellow tomato to be chopped by hand so it can add a gorgeous bright color to the soup. And five, the idea to garnish with grapefruit and basil could almost make me a genius. I mean it does make me a genius.
And still, with all that self-praise intact, truly, this gazpacho is God’s work. Her ingredients need only to be respected in order to create a gazpacho worth revering.
makes 4 cups gazpacho
4 servings or 16 large shot-glass appetizer portions
- 1 pound red or reddish-brown ripe heirloom tomatoes or 4 or 5 large vine ripened tomatoes
- 1 large yellow ripe heirloom tomato, chopped finely by hand
- 1 English cucumber, cut into 1 inch rounds
- 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- one grapefruit
- a handful of fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
- Cut red tomatoes in half and use a spoon to scoop out seeds. (With heirlooms, you might need to be a little creative to get seeds out. Just do it and don’t stress it. It’s all good. You are on the way to making a delicious gazpacho.)
- Put red tomatoes, half of the cucumbers, one quarter of the onion, the sherry vinegar and one teaspoon of salt in your food processor until fully puréed.
- Pour into a large bowl.
- Add the rest of the cucumbers and 2 quarters of the onion (you will have one quarter remaining) and pulse into finely chopped. Do NOT over process or you will lose the crunch in your soup. Push the PULSE button in this rhythm: pulse-pulse-pulse-pulse. Until finely chopped.
- Add chopped onion and cucumbers to bowl of purée.
- Add most of the chopped yellow tomatoes to purée and the last ½ teaspoon of salt. Leave a small handful of the yellow tomato pieces for garnish.
- Cover and chill in fridge for an hour to allow flavors to meld.
- Cut off all the peel of the grapefruit including all of the pith, the bitter white inner skin. Chop the grapefruit into ¼- ½ inch pieces, avoiding the seeds.
- To serve, place in small bowls or shot glasses and top with a few pieces of grapefruit, a few pieces of yellow tomato and a pinch of basil strips.
Want to take cooking classes with Elana in Los Angeles? Go to mealandaspiel.com.