This Labor Day weekend was very summer-like in Michigan! Hot and humid weather with the remains of the hurricane settling in, however, no rain....again.
While heating up the BBQ is so traditional, we decided on a bowl full of gazpacho. The plethora of vegetables is astounding right now and we are taking advantage of it! That's the beauty of gazpacho, you can use what you have on hand as long as it's perfectly ripe!
I will apologize in advance that I rarely measure for this soup, so you will need to taste and adjust as you go. I've also made the mistake of seasoning it as soon as I blended the vegetables, but I really encourage you to wait about 20 minutes for all of the flavors to meld and develop before that final salting!
4 large tomatoes, I use both red and yellow, regular and heirloom
1 large red bell pepper
1 large cucumber, or 3 small pickling cucumbers, peeled
1 medium purple onion
3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 cups tomato juice
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Clean and coarsely chop all vegetables. Place in a blender and add tomato juice. Blend until almost smooth and add olive oil, vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper. Process until desired smoothness is achieved. Taste and adjust seasonings. Allow to rest in refrigerator about 30 minutes. Serve with additional chopped cilantro and a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream.
I have successfully used zuchhini and yellow summer squash in my gazpacho as well as green onions, fresh spinach, most any type of pepper and occasionally throw in a couple carrots (which John really likes). It's such a great soup to use up those enthusiastic farmers market purchases or boost your overall vegetable intake! I love the smokiness of Spanish Smoked Paprika and I think it adds a layer of flavor Gazpacho needs. The Balsamic or Sherry Vinegar adds that touch of sweetness and depth of flavor we all long for in soup, and the olive oil gives the soup a nice silky texture that just plain vegetable soup doesn't achieve.
I hope you enjoy the bountiful last days of summer too!