Friday, May 26, 2017

Recipe: Gazpacho

A long time ago, early one Saturday afternoon, I was feeling the aftereffects of Friday night, and I didn't think things would get much worse.  The girl I was dating (Linda) suggested I might like some gazpacho, which I'd never had before.

In short, the gazpacho was excellent, and is the only known sure-fire cure for overindulgence on Friday night.

The first dish I made once I bought a food processor was hummus; the second was a large bowl of gazpacho.  There is no real cooking time, but the preparation time is lengthy.  Having the time and energy yesterday, I made a large bowl, which you can see below.  I prefer it served just slightly below room temperature, but many people like it chilled.

Equipment: Large bowl, food processor.

3 Medium Size Cucumbers
4 Bell Peppers of different colors; 1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange
3 Medium Size Tomatoes
1 Medium Size Sweet Onion
3 Garlic Cloves
4 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 large bottle tomato juice (buy two, hold a second bottle in reserve)

As you prepare the cucumbers, bell peppers, and tomatoes, put a small amount of the vegetable into the bowl of the food processor and put the rest into the large bowl.  The pieces in the food processor will be used to make the broth of the gazpacho.  As I chop each vegetable into bite size pieces, I put enough of the chopped vegetable into the palm of my hand so as to just cover my palm.  I find this measure works well for me, and I have small hands.

For all you guys out there who don't cook, bite size pieces do not refer to a size that you figure you could wrestle into your mouth.  A bite size piece is small enough so that your significant other could fit two or three of these pieces in a spoon, and I don't mean a serving spoon.

Peel and chop the cucumbers.  Peel the cucumber, slice off the ends, then halve by slicing lengthwise.  Use a spoon to completely remove all the seeds and the core (scrape the core out with a spoon).  Rinse and chop into bite size pieces.  Put the pieces into the large bowl, remembering to put a small amount into the food processor.

Chop the bell peppers.  Taking each pepper in turn, wash it, remove the core and stem by cutting around the stem and pulling the core out.  Throw the core away.  Slice the pepper in half, remove all the seeds and the pith, and chop the pepper into bite size pieces.  The pith is the white stuff inside the pepper; it doesn't taste good, so carefully remove all of it and throw it out.  Put the pieces into the large bowl, remembering to put a small amount into the food processor.

Chop the tomatoes.  Take each tomato in turn, wash it, and remove the stem.  Use your favorite method to slice the tomato into bite size pieces, taking care to remove the core if there is one.  Put the pieces into the large bowl, remembering to put a small amount into the food processor.

Peel and chop the onion.  Peel the onion, rinse it off, slice off the ends, then chop the rest into a course chop.  The onion should be chopped into something smaller than bite size pieces; about half bite size will be good.

Congratulations!  Most of the work is done. Now you'll make the gazpacho broth.

  • Peel and chop the garlic cloves, and add them to the food processor
  • Add the Fresh Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, and Red Wine Vinegar to the food processor
  • Add about a quarter cup of tomato juice to the food processor
  • Lock down the lid of the food processor and turn it on.  Purée the contents.  When the contents looks like it's getting liquefied, add the chili powder and continue to blend the broth.  If consistency is too thick for the processor to blend, add a little tomato juice.
  • Shut off the food processor and taste the content.  This should be very spicy with strong, distinct flavors; it's got an entire bowl of vegetables to season, and that takes a lot of spice.  If you don't think this is spicy enough, add another clove of garlic, another tablespoon or two of lemon juice, olive oil or vinegar.  You can also sprinkle a little Tabasco sauce in the broth, but be careful of this as it will overpower everything else.
Once you're satisfied with the broth, dump it on top of the vegetables in the bowl.  Return the bowl to the food processor, add a cup or two of tomato juice and turn it on, briefly.  This will rinse the bowl in tomato juice, which is then added to the gazpacho.

Top off the gazpacho with the remaining tomato juice so as to just cover the vegetables.  Using a large spoon, carefully fold the vegetables into the broth.  Do not stir vigorously!

It's possible that you may run short of tomato juice, which is where the reserve bottle comes in.  The broth should just cover the vegetables, but no more than that.

Most people prefer to eat this dish chilled, but I enjoy it at room temperature.  Try it both ways.

Note that most women go nuts over this dish.  It takes a lot of work to prepare, clean up is always a major pain, and it's disgustingly healthy.  Surprise your S.O. with this and she'll think you're a culinary genius and a lot of other good things.

Bowl of Gazpacho
Bon appétit!

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