After an unseasonably warm winter and spring, southeastern Nebraska has moved into full-fledged summer weather. This week, temperatures are solidly in the 90s, with many days hovering near 100. It’s brutal, to say the least.
Monday at Wursthaus (as I’ve nicknamed our humble German household) is usually pasta night. But tonight, the last thing we wanted to do was turn on the stove and carboload ourselves straight into a food coma.
I was pleasantly surprised when M suggested gazpacho for dinner. Full of fresh, ripe summer tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, garlic and sweet onion, chilled gazpacho is a refreshing first course or a lovely light dinner.
We’ve only harvested three small cherry tomatoes from our raised-bed garden so far this year, so this time around, we used store-bought toms. But once tomato season enters full swing, I look forward to making this recipe at least once a month.
Use the best extra virgin olive oil you can find in this recipe. We used a lovely first-press Arbequina olive oil our wonderful friends J&J recently brought over from Seville. If you’re unable to find sherry vinegar, try red or white wine vinegar.
Enjoy this dinner al fresco with a glass of chilled sparkling Cava or your favorite crisp white.
GazpachoAdapted from LaTienda.com
Weeknight Kitchen (Hot Edition): Gazpacho
- 2 lb ripe tomatoes
- 2 cucumbers
- 1/2 cup sweet onion (such as Vidalia)
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1 cup French or crusty bread, soaked in water
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tsp salt, to taste
- 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 slice Serrano ham, finely chopped, for garnish (optional)
- Minced flat leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Cut a X in the bottom of the tomatoes and plunge into boiling water for about 10 seconds. Remove to a bowl of cold water. Peel and cut tomatoes and put in blender or food processor.
- Fill a small bowl with water and add bread. Set aside.
- Peel and chop cucumber. Add to blender/food processor.
- Squeeze out excess water from bread and add to blender/food processor along with chopped garlic, peppers, olive oil, onion, vinegar and salt to taste.
- Process until desired texture.
- Add additional soaked bread to thicken and process. If you prefer a thinner texture, add water and process again.
- Chill for at least an hour to blend flavors.
- When ready to serve, place a small saucepan over medium heat. In a small amount of olive oil, cook Serrano ham until crispy.
- Serve chilled gazpacho garnished with crispy Serrano ham and chopped parsley.