i love to cook, but when it’s hot out i like to just keep things simple. pour a big glass of iced tea, put my feet up, and relax with something cool and refreshing to eat. enter: gazpacho. crisp, flavorful and delicious, gazpacho is ridiculously easy to prepare, and can be made with just about anything.
we made the simple chilled soup in my very first culinary class last week, following a basic recipe and throwing it together in no time. i really enjoyed what we created – the recipe included tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers, scallions, garlic, and bread crumbs, plus a splash of red wine vinegar and some olive oil. but i wanted to try something that was just…more. more flavors, more textures, more contrast. gazpacho is supposed to be smooth and almost creamy, with a rich texture and smooth mouthfeel. i browsed through tons of recipes and finally found one that i liked (though of course, i messed with it a bit), that included some extra garnishes to give more contrast in texture. i especially love the cool creaminess of the goat cheese and the smooth coolness of diced avocado.
of course, gazpacho by nature is super easy to customize. basically anything that sounds good can get thrown into the mix. the basic recipe: breadcrumbs and oil for texture, plus whatever sounds delicious or you have on hand at the time. try fruits, seafood, bacon, or even roasted vegetables from your garden.
plus, isn’t everything better with goat cheese?
summer gazpacho with goat cheese
4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 cup v8 or tomato juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
6 tbsp chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
6 ounces plain goat cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
12 sugar snap peas
1/2 avocado, diced
in a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, breadcrumbs, v8 juice, olive oil, lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of the chopped basil and all of the chopped mint. puree mixture in food processor, working in batches if necessary, until all ingredients are smooth and creamy. keep in refrigerator until chilled.
in a small bowl, combine goat cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper. pop in refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
grab a saucepan and put several cups of water on to boil. throw in peas and cook until tender, about a minute or two. remove with a slotted spoon and allow to cool completely, then slice diagonally in half.
when everything is chilled, serve with garnishes – chopped avocado, goat cheese mixture, and several sugar snap peas.