This gazpacho recipe is the best! It’s a refreshing chilled summer soup, perfect for your garden tomatoes and cucumber. Be sure to make it in advance so the soup can chill for at least 2 hours. Recipe yields 5 cups, enough for 4 servings.
2 1/2 pounds ripe red tomatoes (about 4 large or 9 small)
1 small Vidalia onion* (1/2 pound), peeled and cut into rough 1″ chunks
1 small cucumber (1/2 pound), peeled and seeded
1 medium red bell pepper, cored and seeded
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
To prepare your veggies, place your blender bowl, a medium serving bowl, and a small bowl on the counter. Core the tomatoes and cut them into rough 1″ chunks. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the juicy tomato seeds and place them in your small bowl (we’ll use them as a garnish later). Add half of the tomato chunks to the blender, and the other half to your serving bowl. Add all of the onion chunks to the blender.
Cut off about one-fourth of the cucumber. Finely chop that piece and place it in the small bowl. Slice the rest of the cucumber into rough 1″ chunks, and divide them between the blender and the serving bowl. Cut off about one-fourth of the bell pepper, finely chop that piece, and add it to the small bowl. Slice the rest of the bell pepper into rough 1″ chunks and divide them between the blender and the serving bowl.
To the blender, add the basil, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and about 10 twists of black pepper. Securely fasten the lid and blend, starting on low and increasing to high speed, until the mixture is completely smooth, about 2 minutes.
Pour the contents of the serving bowl (the remaining chunks of tomato, cucumber and bell pepper) into the blender. Fasten the lid and blend for just 10 to 20 seconds, until the ingredients are broken up into small pieces. Stop there, or blend a little longer if you prefer smaller pieces.
Add a small pinch of salt to the small bowl of garnishes, stir, and store it in the fridge. Chill the soup for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.
Before serving, taste, and add additional salt (I sometimes add another 1/4 teaspoon) and/or black pepper if necessary. To serve, divide the soup into small bowls or cups, and top with the reserved cucumber and bell pepper. Top with a few tiny or torn basil leaves and a light sprinkle of pepper. Leftover servings keep well, covered and refrigerated, for 3 to 4 days.
*If you can’t find a Vidalia onion: Substitute a sweet yellow onion instead!
Make it quick (shortcut/smooth soup method): You can just cut the tomato, onion, cucumber and bell pepper into 1″ chunks, place them in the blender with the remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth. Chill for at least 2 hours, add more salt or pepper if necessary, and garnish your soup with black pepper and a few tiny or torn basil leaves.