Recently, my friend was telling me in scintillating detail about her current addiction to gazpacho. Of course, I just had to try it for myself. But first I had to pick her brain and others’ brains on what makes great gazpacho. My friend said it must be spicy, have a citrus flavor, and include fresh cilantro and parsley. Fair enough.
I checked out a variety of restaurants serving gazpacho, but I didn’t like the size of the chunks of vegetables in the soup, especially the celery and cucumber.
My next move was to ask my mother—the family recipe almanac—if we had a traditional family recipe for gazpacho. Nope. She had never made it. So I decided it was time to forge a new family tradition.
Here is my recipe, based on the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated:
3 medium ripe beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (4 cups)
2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (2 cups)
2 small cucumbers, one peeled and other with skin on, both seeded, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (2 cups)
1/2 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia, Maui, or Walla Walla) or 2 large shallots, peeled and minced (1/2 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons table salt
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups tomato juice
2 1/2 tablespoons minced chipotle chilies in adobo
1 medium jalapeño, seeds removed, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
8 ice cubes
Extra-virgin olive oil for serving
Optional garnishes: avocado, melon balls, mango
Combine tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onion, garlic, salt, vinegar, jalapeño, and black pepper in a large (at least 4-quart) nonreactive bowl. Let stand until the vegetables just begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomato juice, chipotle chilies, cilantro, parsley, lime juice, lemon zest, and ice cubes. Cover tightly and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.
When ready to serve, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and discard any unmelted ice cubes. Serve cold, drizzling each portion with about 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and topped with desired garnishes.
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