We made gazpacho last year on July 4 — such a good, cold meal for a hot summer day. Perhaps we’ll begin an annual Independence Day Gazpacho tradition, since I just made it again today.
This is one of the best meals to make as young mother, for many reasons: All of the work is in the chopping — there is no cooking involved. Just chopping and waiting. So, it is easy to make in random spurts of 15 minutes throughout the day. Once all the ingredients are combined, it needs to sit “for the flavors to meld” for at least four hours, and up to two days! No rush to eat it while it is hot (since it isn’t hot), and lots of meditative chopping.
While I chopped, I remembered that last year, I was chopping in sadness over our third miscarriage, and chopping with the hope of conceiving a healthy, 46-chromosome baby. Today, I chopped with thankfulness for that little bundle that interrupts my chopping and causes me to make gazpacho in 15-minute spurts throughout the day!
Independence Day Gazpacho
I have modified this from the “Classic Gazpacho” recipe in Cook’s Illustrated: Soups & Stews. This cookbook is worth getting just for the terrifically instructive illustrations of how to chop the vegetables well.
Serves 8 to 10.
3 ripe medium tomatoes (about 1.5 pounds), cored and cut into a 1/4-inch dice
2 small bell peppers (about 1 pound), cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice (I used a red and a green pepper this time, but an orange one would look great too)
2 small cucumbers (about 1 pound), one peeled and the other with skin on, both seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
3-4 medium garlic cloves, pressed
2 teaspoons salt
1/6 cup white wine vinegar
1/6 cup sherry
the zest and juice of one lime
ground black pepper
5-6 cups tomato juice
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco (optional)
8 ice cubes
extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing
chopped Kalamata olives
chopped, cooked shrimp
sliced grilled chicken
Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least four hours and up to two days. When serving, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, remove and discard any unmelted ice cubes, and top with any of the add-ins. Serve in bowls with crusty bread on the side.