Gazpacho immediately comes to mind when I see the late summer harvest of ripe dry farmed tomatoes, colorful peppers, and herbs at the farmers market. My favorite go-to gazpacho recipe was in a small cookbook that came with the first food processor I purchased — it was called New Recipes for the Cuisinart, written by James Beard and Carl Jerome.
James Beard asked Barbara Kafka, a renowned food writer and author of several award winning cookbooks, for the recipe. In writing about her contribution to the cookbook, she wrote: “It is the paradigm of a raw soup originally made by farm workers, using what they had in the fields around them as well as a little olive oil. It is not meant to be a purée, but chunky, and for that the food processor, for those as lazy as I am (or a large knife, for the vigorous) is the best tool. The vegetables are cut up to process evenly but not to purée. Be sure to make this far enough ahead so that is gets really cold. I often double the recipe.”
Some like their gazpacho with texture and the vegetables finely chopped — and others prefer it puréed smooth with crunchy bits added on top of soup the like a garnish. There are many variations — try it either way. It’s a healthy, flavorful raw soup that is delicious either as a first course appetizer or as a light meal on a warm summer evening.
1 small Bermuda or other sweet onion, cut into chunks
2 firm small cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks
2 small green bell peppers, cored, seeded, deribbed and cut into chunks
6 medium-large ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled and cut into eighths
5 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 cup tomato juice, or as needed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon pure chili powder or 1 small fresh chili pepper, halved
1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
Finely chop the onion in a food processor, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Scrape into a large metal bowl. Repeat the process with the cucumbers, then with the green peppers, adding each to the onions. Process 5 of the tomatoes until finely chopped but not puréed. Add to the other chopped vegetables.
Process the remaining tomato with the garlic, tomato juice, oil and chili powder until a smooth liquid has formed. Combine with the chopped vegetables. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Before serving, add the salt. If the soup is too thick, add more tomato juice (or a combination of tomato juice and beef broth).
YIELD: Makes about 6 cups — serves 4 as a first course.
SOURCE: Vegetable Love, by Barbara Kafka (pg. 103)