I've been to Spain a few times now, and there's nothing I love more than a refreshing bowl of gazpacho. The spiciness is contrasted with the cool cucumber and tomato, and, as my dad would say, the flavors explode in your mouth! My husband isn't one for chilled soups, but I'm a big fan. That's fine, because the longer these flavors meld together in your fridge, the better it tastes. Perfect for a summer lunch, appetizer to a Spanish-themed party, or a snack to have on hand after a day of soaking up sun and sand at your favorite Mediterranean beach.
2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped, plus 1 contrasting color for garnish (or use red and yellow grape tomatoes)
2-3 cloves fresh garlic
1 large cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
V-8 juice as needed (no more than a cup or two, I like the spicy kind)
In a blender or food processor, combine all except V-8. Puree until smooth (but not completely liquid, you want some texture). Taste for flavor and adjust ingredients as needed. Add V-8 as needed to adjust heat and/or color. This soup is prettiest when it's a bright red, but depending on the colors of your vegetables, it may look rather pale without the extra tomato juice.
Transfer gazpacho to a covered container or pitcher and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
Just before serving, cut remaining tomato into small dice. Divide soup among shallow bowls, or even juice glasses as I did above. Garnish with diced tomato and extra cilantro. Serve cold. Equally delicious sipped directly from the glass!
Recipe adapted from The South Beach Diet Taste of Summer, by Arthur Agatston.