When it's too hot to even consider turning on the stove or the oven (!) there's nothing like a refreshing bowl of cold tomato soup. There's absolutely no cooking involved and eating it will make you feel as cool as a cucumber.
This recipe is from Andalusia, the southern region of Spain. It gets just as hot there as it does here in South Carolina, but most homes there do not have air conditioning. It's no surprise that such a simple and wonderful recipe for scorching summer weather would come from another famously hot climate.
The hardest part of this recipe is peeling and seeding the tomatoes. The best way to accomplish this is to blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds and then plunge them into an ice bath. The skin will slip and slide right off. I seeded mine over a sieve on top of the blender to save all the flavorful tomato juice.
Gazpacho can be served in a tall glass like a Bloody Mary, or in a bowl with lots of delicious garnishes for a complete summer meal. There are just tons of variations on this recipe, but the basic ingredients are the same. You will need ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, garlic, peppers, olive oil and some bread.
3 pounds ripe tomatoes peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 cucumbers peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sweet peppers
6 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Place all the vegetables and the bread in a blender and pulse until it is well combined. It should be approximately the consistency of a slurpy or milkshake. Pour the gazpacho into a glass or ceramic bowl and add the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Garnish with chopped cucumber, tomato and croutons. If you're really hungry you can add some chopped hard boiled egg and bacon on top.
Because the tomatoes and cukes are peeled, the soup will not have much color, but the taste is lively and bright. You could vary this recipe in many ways. I followed this recipe, which I found here, but it's not necessary to measure the ingredients exactly. Just follow the basic proportions, then adjust it to your liking the next time.