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Andalucian cold tomato soup

Gazpacho

Photograph by Pablo de Loy

This soup is a summertime staple in my house. I keep a big pitcher of it in my refrigerator so I’m always ready to pour a few cups on a hot day for friends and family. If you want to be original, try using ripe yellow and green tomatoes from your local farmers’ markets.

Serves 6-8

For the soup:
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup Oloroso sherry
¾ cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil

For the garnish:
2 1 inch-thick slices rustic bread
¼ cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
½ cucumber, diced
½ green bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Sea salt to taste

 

To make the soup, combine the cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, sherry, olive oil and 2 cups of water in a food processor or blender. Puree the ingredients until everything is well blended into a thick pink liquid. Pour the gazpacho through a medium-hole strainer into a pitcher. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

For the garnish: Preheat oven to 450??qF. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and toss in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Set the croutons aside to cool.

To serve, pour the chilled soup into cups or bowls. Top with croutons, cucumbers and peppers. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.