Gazpacho Season Arrives

The farmers' market is full of ripe tomatoes, and my moment has arrived. 

I like my gazpacho (a raw, chilled tomato soup) pureed very smooth, but I'm not fussy enough to remove every tomato seed. Although I shot the photo plain, to show the color, some freshly toasted croutons are marvelous on top. Diced avocado is also nice.

Peeling tomatoes is a cinch. Set a saucepan full of water to a boil, and make a bowl of ice water beside it. On the bottom of each tomato, cut an X with a knife. Place each tomato in turn into the boiling water for 30 - 60 seconds. (Very ripe tomatoes will begin to shed their skins immediately. Less ripe ones will take more time.) Even if the skin looks firmly attached, remove the tomato with a slotted spoon after 60 seconds and place it in the ice water. After a couple of minutes, remove and peel from the X upward. (Tip: peaches are easily peeled in just the same way.)

Notes: I don't put salt in gazpacho, because it has so much natural flavor. (Bonus!) 

Traditional Gazpacho, Serves 6

6 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and cored

1/2 a large red onion (or a whole small one)

2 garlic cloves (optional)

1 red pepper, cored and cut into 8 pieces

4-6 tablespoons vinegar, to taste

1 large cucumber, peeled and de-seeded

1/4 cup olive oil

 

Using a food processor or a blender, puree the tomatoes in batches, transferring each to a large bowl. Next, puree the onion and pepper and garlic together with the vinegar. Add to the bowl. Puree the cucumber and the olive oil together, and stir into the soup. Refrigerate until ice cold, and serve with croutons.