I remember when gazpacho was all the rage. Every restaurant, Spanish or not had a version. Some were good, some were competent, while other were just tomato juice in a bowl. Well this summer has been a lousy one for tomatoes, too cold and wet and I am not sure the heat we are experiencing now will help.
Our recipe for gazpacho is based on one in Fine Cooking Magazine and works even in a bad tomato season. I use the term 'our' very loosely. My husband always makes this soup; it is one of his "summer dishes". He has added his own touches to the original recipe; roasting the red peppers whole on the grill until they are soft and blackened, this makes the soup sweet, and a little smoky. It also adds lots of flavour, a bonus when the other major ingredient tomatoes are not up to snuff. The peppers release lots of pectin filled juice so there is no need for the more traditional bread to thicken the soup. The peeled, seeded peppers with their juice are blended with peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, green onion, and lemon juice. The soup is finished with good olive oil, lots of chopped herbs and salt and pepper. After an overnight sojourn in the refrigerator to meld the flavours, the soup has a texture close to chunky salsa thanks to those peppers.
However, on a hot summer night it liquefies quickly and is both refreshing and delicious. One guest suggested adding croutons, not a bad idea but I am happy with some good crusty bread.