Easy Gazpacho

We’re getting into tomato season, which means it’s time to start making gazpacho.  I like gazpacho in the summer because it takes advantage of seasonal vegetables, it’s easy to make, you don’t have to turn on the stove in the summer to make it,  and it is a cool, light, refreshing change from what some would consider excessive barbecue consumption.  It probably contains fewer calories that it takes to eat it.  It has lots of fiber and is gluten free.  It has everything you could want except barbecue.

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 .

And dice:

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 has overflowed 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 think it needs it.

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.   (Okay, okay, you had to turn on the stove.  Sue me.)  Let the cooked shrimp chill and then add some to the gazpacho with each serving.

If you are in San Diego, go over to the Marriott resort on the bay side of Coronado.  Their gazpacho with shrimp is sensational — the best I’ve ever tasted.

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