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Classic gazpacho is a creamy cold tomato soup the Spanish eat to combat the oppressive midday summer heat. I stayed with a marvelous Spanish family for six weeks. We lived in Madrid, which is right in the middle of the Iberian peninsula, and it was easily a hundred degrees Fahrenheit at lunchtime. With no air conditioning or breeze, gazpacho was one of the only things that brought relief, and we ate it at least three times a week.

The really wonderful thing about gazpacho is how full you feel after just one bowl. You don’t expect it to be a heavy meal, but because of the cream and garlic, one bowl is enough for almost the rest of the day. This surprising, sweet take on gazpacho is equally filling, but unlike the classic version, you don’t feel like a siesta afterwards.

ingredients_soup

I bought the basil at a farmer’s market, but you can also find it fresh in supermarkets.

What you’ll need:

  • One pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded, and chunked
  • One cucumber, peeled, de-seeded, and chunked
  • Three cups of seedless watermelon, chunked
  • Juice of one lime
  • One cup fresh basil leaves
  • One jalapeno (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A food processor

Step 1.

Peel and de-seed your cucumber and tomatoes. Use a peeler for the cucumber and scoop out the seeds using a spoon. For the tomatoes, though, a typical peeler will damage the meat of the tomato. You can try to slice the skin off using a very sharp knife, or you can blanch your tomatoes, which will allow you to peel the skin right off.
tomatoes_soup

Blanching tomatoes. Just be careful to not let them sit in the water too long, otherwise they’ll get mushy.

To prepare tomatoes for blanching, cut off the top, and trace an X into the bottom of the fruit with your knife point. Bring a pot of water to a boil and pop your tomatoes in one at a time. Watch for the skin of the tomato to split and immediately fish your tomato out using a slotted spoon. This part should only take about ten or twenty seconds. I like to rinse my tomatoes under cold water to help them cool faster.

Wait a little bit for your tomatoes to cool, then just peel the skins off. Easy!

Now cut them into quarters and use your fingers to sort of wipe the seeds out of the chambers. I know it seems like a lot of work, and you can definitely use canned tomatoes instead of fresh, but I’d be hard-pressed to find a canned tomato that tastes as good as a fresh one.

tomatoes_deseeded

De-seeded and skinned tomatoes. It’s not as hard as it sounds, I promise.


If you opt to use canned tomatoes instead of fresh, one can should just about do the trick.

Step 2.

Leave a few tablespoons of both the tomatoes and cucumber on the cutting board for later. We’ll add them to the finished soup to give it some texture. Blend your basil, tomatoes, cucumber, and watermelon in a food processor until smooth.

Step 3.

Pour your soup into a large bowl, stirring in the extra cucumber and tomatoes for texture, as well as the lime juice.

Step 4.

Cover and chill your soup until cold, usually about three hours. If you’re in more of a hurry, you can use ice cubes to chill it faster, but keep in mind this will thin the soup and water down the flavors. For garnish, chop up a bit more basil, add some thinly-sliced scallions, or a slice of watermelon.

soup_finished

Garnish with a little bit of leftover basil.


Much like the Mint and Watermelon Salad, this recipe is easily changed to suit your tastes. I love garlic, for example, so I added a clove of raw garlic to the tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelon to give it an extra kick. Or perhaps you like some heat in your meals–include a jalapeno in the mix.

Enjoy!

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