Never one to disappoint, Cook’s Illustrated has perfected the gazpacho recipe. I normally don’t actually like gazpacho because I think it tastes like drinking salsa. BUT, when I saw the word “creamy” in the title I was intrigued for sure and it didn’t look like any gazpacho I had previously tried. So how did CI do it?
This recipe calls for salting the vegetables for an entire hour. According to the amazing food scientists over at America’s Test Kitchen, the salting forces flavor molecules within the vegetables to separate from proteins within the cell walls, which in turn gives you more flavor when the soup hits your tongue. Science is cool. Science + food = super cool.
Then, slowly drizzling the olive oil into the soup as it processes helps the soup emulsify, which creates the creamy, non-greasy texture. And pushing the mixture through the sieve is key. All this equals perfection. Top it off with a splash of tangy sherry vinegar, fresh herbs, and black pepper and you have the perfect summer meal.
Although I stuck to the major aspects of this recipe, I did adapt it a bit because I felt it called for too many diced vegetables to stir into the soup making it incredibly chunky. The recipe I’ve posted below instead leaves a moderate amount of vegetables to stir into the finished soup. I served with crusty bread and butter. Divine.
- 3 lbs ripe tomatoes (about 6 medium), cored
- 1 small cucumber, peeled, halved and seeded
- 1 medium green bell pepper, halved, cored and seeded
- 1 small red onion, peeled and halved
- 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
- 1 small serrano chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise
- kosher salt
- 1 slice white sandwich bread, crust removed, torn in 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 2 tbsp. finely minced parsley, chives or basil leaves (or a combination)
- Ground black pepper
- Dice 1 tomato, about 1/4 the cucumber, 1/4 the green pepper, and 1/4 the onion and place in a medium bowl. Toss with 1/2 tsp salt and transfer to fine mesh strainer set over medium bowl. set aside 1 hour.
- Roughly chop the remaining tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, and onion and place in a bowl. Add garlic, chile and 1 and 1/2 tsp salt; toss until well combined; set aside.
- Transfer drained diced vegetables to an airtight container and refrigerate. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid and soak 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid with roughly chopped vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.
- Transfer half of vegetable bread mixture to blender (or food processor) and process 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup oil and continue to blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain soup through fine mesh strainer into large bowl, repeat with remaining bread mixture and 1/4 cup oil.
- Stir in vinegar and fresh herbs and season to taste. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least several hours for flavors to develop.
- Serve with a spoonful of the diced vegetables, a splash of sherry, olive oil, and fresh ground pepper.