Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
When I was a young country girl I was a very picky eater. One of the things I would turn my nose up at was tomatoes. I don’t even know why I didn’t like tomatoes because I probably never even gave them a chance. I remember seeing my cousin pick a tomato off my Nanny’s (that’s country for grandmother) tomato plant and proceed to eat it like an apple. I was so repulsed by that. Thank goodness I got over my aversion to tomatoes because I eat them all the time now. I am convinced that someday when I have children, they will be super picky like I was as payback for the torture I put my parents through.
My husband and I love gazpacho so when trying to decide what to cook for his birthday this past weekend, I knew I had to make this. I’ve made a few different gazpacho recipes before but this one is the one I’ve kept and have made several times. It calls for heirloom tomatoes, which are expensive. So if you are making this on a budget I recommend using regular tomatoes for the soup and buy one or two heirlooms for the garnish. Of course, you don’t have to use heirlooms for the garnish but I think the colors are so pretty. Also, if you decide to use crème fraîche you can usually find it in the gourmet cheese section of the grocery store or near the dairy section. I know the end of tomato season is near so I hope you get to make this before it’s over.
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
1/2 red onion, diced
3 lb. heirloom tomatoes, cored and diced
1 1/2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 cups cubed baguette bread
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Crème fraîche for garnish (optional)
In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of the onion, 1 cup of the tomatoes, 3/4 cup of the cucumbers, the 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. of the lemon juice, 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, the parsley and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
In a food processor, combine the remaining onion with the remaining 4 tsp. lemon juice, the 1 Tbs. salt, garlic, thyme, vinegar and bread. Puree until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping the processor to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Add the remaining tomatoes and cucumbers along with the bell pepper. Puree until the mixture is completely smooth, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with pepper. With the motor running, slowly stream in the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil and puree for 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer the soup to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
Before serving, stir soup to mix any olive oil that has settled to the top back into the soup. Ladle the gazpacho into tumblers or bowls. Garnish each portion with crème fraîche and a large spoonful of the diced vegetables.