Hot Day, Cold Soup

With the arrival of summer here in NH, I’ve been enjoying more grilled meals and cold dishes such as my favorite barley salad. However, it doesn't truly feel like summer until I’ve made gazpacho. Pretty traditional and quite simple, my recipe is based off of the flavor profile of a delicious bowl I had in the amazing city of Barcelona, three or so years ago. This cold soup is one of my favorite things to make on an especially hot and humid summer day; plus, the taste memory brings me back to one of my favorite cities in Europe. Roasting the bell peppers adds a little depth and complexity to this version, especially since it is often described as a salad in liquid form. Gazpacho is refreshing and filling enough to make a meal out of when it follows a small starter of Spanish olives, spicy chorizo and a small wedge of Idiazábal.

Four hearty servings
5 medium sized tomatoes
2 red or yellow bell peppers
1 cucumber
2 cloves garlic
½ sweet onion
¼ baguette, day old
2 cups water
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
¼ C good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

hard boiled eggs, quartered or chopped
¼ cucumber, small dice
olive oil
kosher salt

Roast the peppers whole over an open flame or in oven under broiler turned on to low, turning as outside of the pepper chars. When peppers are completely charred, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool. Once the peppers are cool, peel off charred skin, pull off stem and seeds and set aside.

Soak the old bread in the 2 cups of water to soften. Wash and quarter the tomatoes, peel and rough chop the cucumber, smash the garlic clove with the flat side of a knife and remove skin, and rough chop the onion.

Pulse half of the tomatoes in the blender with the cucumber, bell peppers, garlic, and onion, drizzling in olive oil until well pureed, pour into a large bowl. Blend the remaining tomatoes with the softened bread and water, red wine vinegar and cumin, salt and pepper. Add the second batch to the bowl and adjust seasonings as necessary. Let soup chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, longer if you have the have the time. Ladle soup into a bowl and garnish with hardboiled egg, cucumber, olive oil, and salt. Buen Provecho! 

 Iberian deliciousness in Barcelona, May 2010

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