It is my belief that when you belong to a CSA you are required at some point to make gazpacho.
I mean how could you not with all these gorgeous, ripe tomatoes sitting right at your fingertips?
I had a big bowlful of tomatoes sitting on my counter from the last two weeks of my CSA and they needed to be used fast. I had two options at hand, make tomato sauce or make gazpacho. With all the other vegetables sitting my crisper draw as well, I knew that gazpacho was my answer.
Now, I had my basic recipe that I used last summer for gazpacho that I was very happy with, and it was the traditional Andalusian recipe of using a large amount of olive oil and bread as a thickener, but I happened to come across this recipe on Serious Eats and I wanted to try it out to see if the extra steps it called for really made a difference in the taste.
The main difference between the Serious Eats recipe and mine is the fact that it called for a period of salting the vegetables and then freezing the vegetables to draw out as much moisture and juice as possible. By doing so, we are extracting more flavors from the vegetables to then put back into the gazpacho when blending together.
In the end, while this method does taking a lot of time (2 hours total, but mostly inactive) it was a very flavorful and delicious soup but perhaps a tad too heavy on the olive oil for my palate. Next time, I’d just use slightly less oil.
Recipe – By J. Kenji Lopez-Alt:
3 pounds (about 4 large) very ripe tomatoes, cored and diced about 1” thick
1/2 pound (about 1 small) cucumber, peeled and cored and diced about 1” thick
1/3 pound (about 1 small) red onion, diced about 1” thick
1/3 pound (about 1 medium) green or red bell pepper, cored and seeded, diced about 1” thick
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 ounces white bread or french or italian bread, torn into 1” pieces
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, garlic and salt in a large bowl and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Drain the juices into a large bowl and add the bread. Transfer the vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet and place in the freezer until the vegetables are frozen, about 30 minutes.
Remove the vegetables from the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature until mostly thawed, about another 30 minutes. Transfer the vegetables and all their juices to the bowl with the soaked bread.
Working in batches, blend the vegetables, juice and bread at a high speed, slowly drizzling olive oil and sherry vinegar into the blender.
Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, drizzle with more olive oil and sherry vinegar, extra pepper and if you like some chopped cucumber or peppers. You can also top with chives or scallions.
The gazpacho can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.