August 10, 2011

Aaah, gazpacho!

In the hot, sultry dog days of summer, nothing beats a cool, refreshing cup of gazpacho. If you’ve never tried it, gazpacho is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup – and it’s a perfect way to fuse your garden’s bounty of fresh tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and zesty peppers. Recipes vary, and some even include fruits like pineapple, watermelon and mango. But I’m sort of a purist and favor the classic versions like this one:

6 tomatoes, diced

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced

2 jalapenos peppers, seeded and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. lime zest

2 cups tomato juice

½ cup lime juice

2 tsp. cumin

1 ½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

In large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, garlic, onion and lime zest. Reserve 3 cups of tomato mixture. To remaining mixture add tomato juice, lime juice, cumin, salt and cayenne. Puree in blender or food processor (in batches if necessary) until smooth. In large bowl, combine puree with cilantro and reserved tomato mixture. Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold.

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Get creative and top with avocado or toss in some shrimp or grilled chicken. At only 55 calories a cup, you can even accompany it with a generous chunk of crusty bread guilt free.

Since I’m such a gazpacho fan, I’m always looking for restaurants that serve a really great bowl of it. Do you know of any?

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