Tomato Gazpacho Recipe

Tomato season is just getting going and the heirloom varieties have been superb. My favorites so far have been coming from Balakian Farms. Here’s my recipe for tomato gazpacho. Did you know that in Spain the original gazpacho was  essentially a bread soup? That’s right, it was before tomatoes had even been imported from the New World. They used to pound the bread with olive oil, garlic, vinegar and water. The bread is what gives the soup that great body. And for f*cks sake, don’t even bother if you don’t have amazing tomatoes. Serve this soup on a warm day in bowls or mugs and if you are entertaining you can serve it in shot glasses. Try it, it’s super bueno!

Tomato Gazpacho:

2 heaping cups bread, crust removed and cut roughly into one inch pieces
2 cups water
4 pounds very ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons red pepper, diced
4 tablespoons yellow pepper, diced
4 tablespoons red onion, diced
4 tablespoons cucumber, diced
2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup water (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
2 tablespoons cherry tomatoes, quartered
Baby basil leaves

In a bowl cover the bread with water and soak until soft, about five minutes. Drain and squeeze the bread dry. Puree the bread with the garlic in a blender until very smooth adding a few tablespoons of water if necessary. Set aside.

Place the chopped tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and season with salt. Add two tablespoons each of the diced red and yellow pepper, red onion, and cucumber. Add the bread puree and mix to combine, seasoning with cumin and salt to taste. If time permits, allow this mixture to rest in the refrigerator well covered over night.

Working in two batches, puree half of the tomato mixture with one-third cup of your best quality olive oil in the blender until the consistency is perfectly smooth. Transfer the gazpacho to a large mixing bowl and repeat. Whisk in the sherry vinegar and Tabasco to taste. Thin with water if desired and let chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Before serving combine the remaining two tablespoons of red and yellow pepper, cucumber, red onion and cherry tomatoes in a mixing bowl and season with salt to taste. Plate a small spoonful of the salad garnish in the center of each bowl. Pour the gazpacho around the salad, top with a few basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. Serves six to eight.

Jordan

About Jordan Schachter

The majority of my childhood memories took place in the neighborhood pizzeria. My friends all called me “Slim” but as I recall I could eat any of them under the table. In college, I discovered a strong interest in sustainable agriculture while working on organic farms. It was during this time that I cultivated my appreciation and respect for the highest quality, farm fresh ingredients. Ever since I have identified with a strong desire to feed people and this is what would lead me to cooking and the hospitality industry. For a few years after college, I was able to travel extensively exploring the cuisines and culinary traditions of Europe, Asia and Central and South America. In 2001 I moved to San Francisco, CA and shortly after began working as a private chef while staging from time to time at some of the cities great local restaurants. In 2008 I began teaching hands on cooking classes in the Bay Area as a way to share my passion and knowledge with others. The classes have been sold out ever since and we have had the privilege to host home cooks from all over the world. Teaching has been an incredible way for me to connect with and also learn from others. Our mission is to build and nourish community through the joy of cooking and eating with one another.
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