After a couple of days eating pounds of barbecue and more pounds of hushpuppies than you are willing to admit, you’re probably ready for something lighter. Gazpacho is a good option. Here’s how I make it:
Roughly cut up and divide evenly between two bowls:
3 large tomatoes that are not from your supermarket
1 cucumber, maybe 1 1/2, ends removed and any large seeds removed, but not peeled;
1 bell pepper, cored and seeded;
2 large jalapeño peppers, cored and seeded; and
1 not huge red onion .
4 cloves of garlic and
a small handful of cilantro or parsley or basil. That’s “or,” not “and.”
Put everything from one of the bowls into a Cuisinart. Add a couple of dashes of Tabasco Sauce and the juice of 1 lime. At this point, some of you will realize why I told you to separate everything into two bowls: for those who didn’t pay attention, all that food won’t fit in your Cuisinart.
Not to worry. Dump about half of it out of the Cuisinart and put it into a bowl. Don’t worry too much if the proportions are way out of whack — too many tomatoes on one side, all the onions in the other. Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of chilled tomato juice to the Cuisinart. Blend the first batch for, I don’t know, five or ten seconds. You want it to be blended, but by no means smooth: the bits of onion, cucumber and pepper should be individually discernable. Repeat with the second batch, adding more lime juice, tomato juice, and Tabasco. You can add extra tomato juice if you like.
Combine the batches and stir until everything is blended thoroughly. Chill the gazpacho for a couple of hours and serve.
Note: If you have some left over grilled peppers or onions in your refrigerator, you can add some of that during the two-bowl phase, to give it a smoky flavor (if you want a smoky flavor), but don’t fire up the grill just for this.
And if you have some leftover grilled shrimp, or if you want to take time to sauté some shrimp, go ahead. Sauté the shrimp in a little olive oil with a bit of minced garlic and some black pepper. Let the shrimp chill and then add some to the gazpacho with each serving.
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