Ahh, summertime. Ripe tomatoes. I am always inspired by seasonal produce despite the fact that these days we often don’t really know what is in season what with cold storage and whatnot. When in Europe it became clear to me that when you live where food doesn’t have to be transported thousands of miles, you get fresh and ripe produce. In this country you have to work at it. But here in Florida you can get ripe summer tomatoes.
My father loved gazpacho and so do I. He gave me his recipe, on the back of a random piece of paper that I still have. We talked more about food and recipes than about anything else. If I could not remember whether you add the oil or the vinegar first in a vinaigrette, I could call him day or night. So many things he made are in my recipe book whether I make them or not. And my knives have never been sharpened so well since he passed. But as usual, I digress.
I like my gazpacho “greener” than he did. And traditional gazpacho has bread in it and I don’t add bread to mine, I find that with more green, it is bound enough and doesn’t need the bread. And he added a very non-traditional secret ingredient that I definitely still add, later for the reveal.
So here goes. For a medium batch I use a very large peeled ripe tomato, about half of a large english cucumber, peeled, half to whole green bell pepper, half a sweet onion, clove or more of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, a little vinegar (you just have to taste and can experiment with what one you like) salt to make the chemistry happen (again, taste, taste, taste) and……. aha: V-8 juice. Not a lot just enough to bring it together. Add a small bunch of fresh parsley. I make the whole think in my food processor and just keep going until I like the taste and texture. Rather than adding bread, I serve it with good crunchy croutons. And voila, Pop’s gazpacho, my style.
This wonderful salad/soup has been many a summer’s dinner for me. My family found it an acquired taste. But I love it and it always brings to mind a memory of my father who loved to cook and loved to share cooking ideas and recipes. Someday I hope to be as imaginative in his honor.