I LOVE gazpacho! Am I alone in this? I’m always amazed that so few restaurants offer it, especially when the temperature soars unmercifully in the summer. If LunaCafe were a brick-and-mortar, versus virtual, café, I would serve a different gazpacho every week all summer long. How fun would that be?
It would be easy to do too. I have at least six favorite gazpacho recipes I could share with you right now, for instance. And I plan to make this a gazpacho summer, so will have even more by September.
You’ve probably guessed that one of the reasons I love gazpacho is because it’s NOT fattening. Eat, drink all you want. It’s also sensationally satisfying with BIG flavor. And even though I would never add a quart of tequila (or was it vodka?) to my gazpacho, that’s what Carmen Maura did in the movie, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and it worked for her.
So here you go. Whip this up for your Memorial Day festivities, and let me know if you want me to keep the gazpacho recipes coming. Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Fennel Gazpacho anyone?
Spicy Cucumber Gazpacho
Here is a spicy, chilled soup with vibrant color and over-the-top flavor. It just doesn’t get any fresher tasting than this. I love serving this soup in small glasses as a prelude to a casual summer meal or simply as an afternoon pick-me-up. It really sparks the appetite.
2 English cucumbers, peeled and chopped (4 cups chopped)
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, deribbed, and chopped
3 green onions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, halved lengthwise, seeded and deribbed (use disposable gloves)
small handful Italian parsley, large stems removed
small handful spearmint or lemon verbena leaves
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced or pressed
½ cup chicken stock, or water, plus additional
¼ cup cold pressed olive oil
2 tablespoons natural-process red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
several drops of Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce, to taste
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ cup diced English cucumber (with peel)
¼ cup diced green bell pepper
coarsely grated zest of 1 lemon
6 small tips of fresh spearmint or lemon verbena
- Put the cucumber, bell pepper, green onions, jalapeno chiles, parsley, spearmint or lemon verbena, and garlic into a blender and liquefy.
- Add the stock, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, Tabasco, and salt. Pulse to combine.
- Taste and adjust the balance of salt and lemon juice if needed.
- Adjust the thickness of the soup by adding a little more chicken stock if needed.
- Chill for at least two hours.
- Just before serving, pour the soup into individual cups, and then sprinkle each with a bit of diced cucumber, red bell pepper, and lemon zest. Top each serving with a tiny sprig of spearmint or lemon verbena.
Makes 2 quarts; serves 6.