[Alternative caption: “looks like puke; tastes like summer”]
I almost called this recipe “the busy person’s gazpacho.” However, really, I’m not that busy. But lazy. That I am. Very lazy.
Enter gazpacho: that cold, healthy, delicious summer soup. I’ve always loved it. I spent a couple summers in Denver living with my Aunt/Godmother Rose whilst in grad school. She is nurturing to the core. So when I off-handedly mentioned that I liked gazpacho, she made it for me every. single. day. to take to class. [Hello, my name is Spoiled.]
I wanted to re-create Aunt Rose’s deliciousness. A few years ago I came across Alton Brown’s recipe. The ingredients were simple, but the process was, well, fussy. A few of the steps just seemed so unnecessary. [Yes, yes, I realize that Mr. Brown is a culinary genius and I am sure the steps have a higher purpose, but again, I am lazy…even in the kitchen.]
I simplified the procedure, but the taste remained. Then last summer when I joined the CSA for the first time, I always seemed to have extra random vegetables to use up, so I started experimenting with substitutions, and I discovered that the recipe was very adaptable. Have an extra zucchini? Throw it in. Did you not get any red bell peppers this week? Forget them.
The typical way to make gazpacho is to dice everything very small, puree only half of it, then mix it all together, so the end result is kind of chunky. However, part of my lazy adaptation is just chopping everything rather large, then pureeing the whole thing at the end. I really like it this way, but if you prefer yours with bigger chunks, then follow Alton’s method. I won’t judge. Well, much.
Also, he calls for removing the tomato skins and “seeding” everything. Again, I think this highly unnecessary, especially if you’re just going to puree it all up. So, leave the seeds in, I say! [Except the jalapeno seeds…those make it too spicy. Unless you like extra-spicy, of course.]
Adapted for the lazy person from Alton Brown’s gazpacho.
1 1/2- 2 pounds tomatoes, chopped*
1 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped [feel free to substitute some/all of the cucumber for zucchini, summer squash, and/or bell pepper]
1/2 cup chopped red onion [just use yellow onion, if that’s all you have!]
1 small jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2-3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil leaves, chiffonade or chopped for the garnish
1. Mix all of the ingredients, except the basil, in a bowl.
2. Puree in three batches in the blender. Be careful when you are pouring the batches into another bowl, because it splashes. And tomato stains can be difficult to get out of clothes.
3. Chill for at least two hours, but the longer the better. I think it tastes better the next day!
4. Garnish with basil.
*This is an excellent way to use up less-than-ideal tomatoes!
[No, Mena, that tomato is a tad under-ripe, but thank you anyway.]