“Truth be told, I was never a gazpacho fan until this summer. I just didn’t care for the idea of blended vegetables as a meal but then I made this and I was hooked. Needless to say, a good friend of mine recently felt the same way and after this tasting, she said it’s the meal that changed her life. Dramatic I know, but she has asked me to make it again for her repeatedly. This is my favorite go-to recipe, especially when it’s hot out and you just don’t want to eat anything. The key here is FRESH vegetables. I make this in the Hamptons usually where I can pick up amazingly fresh veggies straight from a farm stand. Because everything is pretty much in its natural form, you want fresh. And I always prefer my gazpacho to have a SLIGHT chunky consistency because too chunky and it’s salsa and too smooth and it’s a V8. Getting that perfect consistency is the trick. But guaranteed, if done right, you will love that you made it.” – Joe Zee
4 large ripe yellow heirloom tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 segments
4 large ripe beefsteak tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 segments
1 large English or Hothouse cucumber, peeled and cut 1 cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, roughly cut into cubes
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Chunks of sourdough or crusty Italian bread, roughly 2 thick slices
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-6 TBSP red wine or sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper
1) Core and peel tomatoes. My favorite way to do this is by scoring the bottom of each tomato (slicing an “X” on the bottom with a paring knife) and then dunking them into boiling hot water for 30-45 seconds each, depending on the size of the tomato and then immediately dropping them in an ice bath (deep bowl with ice) in order to stop the cooking. We just want the skins to peel back easily, which this process makes happen effortlessly. Repeat with all the tomatoes until they’ve all been peeled, then cut roughly into 1/4 segments and discard the core. Set aside.
2) Peel and roughly cut the english or hothouse cucumber into 1/4 segments and set aside.
3) Char the peppers until they are blackened completely on the outside. I do this on my gas burner by putting the peppers directly on the gas flame and turning them until they char. This process takes about 20 minutes or so, so be patient. But of course, this can also be done on the grill. Once the peppers are blackened on the outside, throw them in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap for another 20 minutes. This will allow them to steam further and make the skins come off easily. This is an extra step but the charring really adds a deeper dimension to the gazpacho. Once the peppers have cooled, you can take a pairing knife and just scrap the skins right off and cut roughly into sections and set aside.
4) Once everything is set and ready to go, I work in 2 separate batches in my Vitamix blender. Start with 2 heirloom tomatoes, 2 beefsteak tomatoes, half the cucumber, half the peppers, half the onions, half the jalapeno and 2 cloves of garlic and put it all in the blender. Add 1 thick slice of bread roughly torn by hand on top.
5) Add in 1/4 of olive oil and 2-3 TBSP of red wine or sherry vinegar, depending on how much acid you like, plus a good pinch of salt and pepper.
6) Blend by starting on #1 and slowing ramping up the speed. You can blend longer if you want a smoother consistency or for less time if you want it with a chunkier consistency. I usually go for roughly 2 minutes so I can still taste the chunks of fresh vegetables in my soup.
7) Pour into container and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Once it’s all done, you can put the 2 batches together and refrigerate to chill for at least 30-45 minutes. This is important to allow all the flavors to settle. Soup can last 2-3 days ( and it’s usually better the next day when all the flavors have a minute to meld together).
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