I've been making Gazpacho for years now following Ina Garten's recipe, which is really outstanding. Until I came up with this recipe, I never thought that Gazpacho could be better than her recipe. I've tried Gazpacho at Le Pain Quotidien and Kruse & Muir's in Michigan, and Ina's was always better. However, after turning to The Daily Soup Cookbook, which has never steered me wrong before, I combined Ina's recipe with the Daily Soup's (with a little help from Gwyneth Paltrow's recipe, which inspired me to roast the peppers) and came up with a perfectly balanced Gazpacho.
I think the only issue I ever had with Ina's recipe was that it was a little too acidic. This recipe has less tomatoes, more red peppers, and even makes use of the insides of the peppers! I've never used the seeds and white parts of red peppers before, but that idea came from The Daily Soup, and it's really a genius way to cut down on waste and create a really rich and creamy broth in the blender.
Make some of Ina's Parmesan Croutons to go with your Gazpacho (they keep really well and are a delicious snack), and you'll really enjoy this summer soup all week long.
Gazpacho (Makes about 12 cups)
4 red peppers*
1 hothouse (English/seedless) cucumber, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes**
3 beefsteak tomatoes
4 cups organic tomato juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar***
3 garlic cloves, peeled (smash them with your knife to make this easier)
1 ½ teaspoons salt (you can always add more at the end if you think it needs it)
1 teaspoon hot sauce (Frank’s and Tabasco work well – add more if you want it spicier)
2 green onions, white and some green parts chopped
Toppings: extra chopped green onions, Greek yogurt or light sour cream, toasted slices of a French baguette
*You can substitute a yellow or orange pepper in here if you want the soup to be more colorful, but I would keep at least 2 of the peppers red for the color.
**This isn’t really a specialty item, but it’s not your standard cucumber either. These are really long cucumbers that usually come sealed up in plastic wrap at the grocery store. If you have fresh cucumbers in your garden that you’d like to use instead, use two of them and really make sure to scoop all the seeds out before adding them to the soup.
***I didn’t have white wine vinegar until I started making Ina Garten’s Gazpacho years ago. If you don’t have any in the house, but you have red wine vinegar, just use the red. No need to buy a bottle just for this recipe. Same goes for having just white wine vinegar and not red. If you do decide to buy a bottle of white wine vinegar, try it out in salad dressings. It has a much milder flavor than red wine vinegar and is perfect for sweeter vinaigrettes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare one half sheet pan with a piece of parchment.
1. Halve the peppers, remove the seeds and white parts of the inside of the pepper, and transfer the seeds and white portion (yes, the part you would usually throw out) to a blender. A food processor will work too. Do this with all four peppers. Set the blender or food processor aside for a moment.
2. Take half of the remaining red pepper pieces (from 2 peppers) and cut them into strips about an inch wide. Place the strips of pepper on the baking pan, drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with some salt and either freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes. Toss the strips with your hands to distribute the oil and seasonings, and then arrange them on the pan so that they’re not overlapping. Roast for about 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees until they’re soft and lightly charred on the edges and bottoms.
3. While the pepper strips are roasting, you can prepare the rest of the soup. Cut the remaining raw red pepper pieces into ½-inch pieces (or ¼-inch pieces if you prefer smaller chunks in your soup). If you haven’t already, cut the cucumber in half, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, and then cut it into ¼-inch cubes. Chop one tomato into ½-inch cubes. Add the chopped vegetables to a soup pot or mixing bowl that holds 3+ quarts.
If you hate chopping, use the food processor! This is the method that Ina uses, and best if you want smaller chunks in the soup but don’t like chopping. The vegetables in the soup will have a salsa-like consistency before adding the tomato broth.
To do this: Cut the cucumber, peppers, and one tomato into large, 1-inch chunks, and place them in the food processor separately. Pulse each vegetable until they are the right size (1/4-inch pieces), but don’t purée. Add the vegetables to your soup pot or bowl.
4. Now your peppers should be just about done, and just let them cool until you can safely handle them. Take half of the roasted pepper strips and cut them into ½-inch pieces and add them to the pot. Take the other half and add them to the blender.
5. At this point, your blender should have the seeds and white parts of 4 peppers and half of the roasted pepper strips (equal to about 1 pepper). Cut the remaining 2 tomatoes in half, remove the stem, and add them to the blender. Then add the tomato juice, oil, vinegars, garlic, salt, and hot sauce. Blend at the highest speed until the mixture is smooth.
6. Pour the liquid into the pot over the rest of the vegetables. Add the chopped green onions and stir. Taste the soup to make sure the seasonings are right. Add more salt or hot sauce to taste.
7. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The longer this sits, the better it will get.
We really like this with some extra green onions, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and a piece of toasted baguette. Add a piece of mozzarella to the baguette, and the meal tastes like bruschetta in soup form.
Serving Size 191 g