• While vegetables are key to this dish, so is bread. If you have ever had bowl of gazpacho that was the consistency of juice, missing bread might be the culprit. In Spain where the soup originated, stale bread always forms the base of the dish. • Gazpacho is the ultimate “clear the cupboards” cuisine. Stale bread and vegetables that don’t need to look pretty are exactly what is required for this dish. And two typically prolific garden producers—tomatoes and cucumbers—are among the best veggies to use.
• Here’s my favorite thing about gazpacho: It doesn’t have to be exact. You need bread, olive oil, raw fruit or vegetables, salt, and vinegar or lemon juice. That’s it. Some combinations will be better than others, but since nothing has to cook or set or jell, you can’t really go wrong. And it comes together quickly, with no heating elements.
• When deciding what to throw in the blender, ask yourself what vegetables you like to eat raw. Tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, avocado, onions, garlic and fresh herbs all work well, as do melons, mangos and peaches. Consider your ratio of especially wet produce, like tomatoes, to drier items, like onions — and find a balance you like.
• Start by tearing about 1 cup of stale bread into small pieces and soaking it in a bowl with a little vinegar and cold water. Toss the wet bread mixture in a blender, add veggies and start pureeing. Some recipes call for tomatoes to be blended separately and for olive oil to be added while they are blending, but again, experiment and see what works for you.
• The soup doesn’t have to be entirely pureed. Reserve some of your veggies, dice them and add them to bowls. Grilled shrimp could be another good addition. Also play with spices like curry, and don’t be afraid to add more vinegar, lemon juice or salt to taste. Bonus: The acids you add will help keep the soup a nice color if you store it in the fridge overnight.
— Posted by Chelsey Simpson; origionally published in the August issue of Oklahoma Living magazine.