Summer has arrived at last! Check out your local farmer’s market and you’ll be nothing short of inspired by ingredients. Chive and garlic flowers, tiny strawberries, peppers, okra and herbs galore.
Burpless cucumbers, an heirloom variety grown by some local farmers, are seedless, windy green things, perfect for a salad or tossed with sesame oil and rice vinegar. I love using them in a summer gazpacho.
Their cool, mild flavor, without all the extra liquid and slimy seeds you find in some larger supermarket cucumbers, are the perfect vegetal balance to the sweetness and acidity of tomatoes.
With the exception of some salt, vinegar, olive oil and lemon, you can bring home just about every ingredient you’ll need for this gazpacho from the market and turn it into a light lunch or chilled dinner soup.
The way I like to approach a gazpacho is knowing what goes into one and adjusting the blended vegetables with just enough seasoning to get the right balance. I can’t tell you how much that will be.
Why? Because each fruit and vegetable in this dish will be of different quality and flavor, depending on the type of tomato, sweetness and natural acidity, the variety of pepper or cucumber and pungency of your garlic.
Play with it. Start with small pinches of salt and drizzles of vinegar until you strike the right balance. Whisking in olive oil will mellow out some of the acidity and give the soup some balance and body.
Lastly, watermelon, strawberries and basil are just those extra last-minute garnishes that make this soup special. If you’d rather skip the fruit, you could add additional chopped bell peppers, cucumber and tomato for some added texture. Enjoy! From my kitchen to yours.
Gazpacho with summer fruits
4-5 firm, ripe large tomatoes, quartered
3 Persian or market burpless cucumbers or 1 peeled seedless cucumber
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into large pieces
1 yellow onion, cut in 1/6ths
2 fresh garlic cloves
Sherry vinegar, to taste
Good quality olive oil, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste