Gazpacho is a wonderfully vibrant summer dish that really wakes up the taste buds on a hot summer’s day. It is one of my favourite things to eat for lunch in the summer.
It is essentially a chilled tomato soup, flavoured with whatever else is at hand; here I have used fennel and red pepper as additional flavours, but you can use most anything so long as tomato is the dominant flavour.
- 1 kg fresh ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
- ½ bulb of fennel, finely chopped
- 2 sweet red peppers, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 cucumber, finely chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Unrefined sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- A little fresh basil, oregano or thyme to serve
- Reserve a couple of handfuls of the diced vegetables (not the garlic) to garnish the soup with at the end.
- Gently heat a good 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan until it begins to give off its aroma – don’t overheat or it will lose its flavour. Add a good pinch of salt and a couple of turns of black pepper, leave for 10 seconds, then add the onion.
- Sauté the onion until soft and translucent (the key with all of the ingredients in this dish is to cook them gently to release all of their flavoursome sugars), and then add the fennel, garlic, celery, and red peppers. Cook for a further 10 minutes on a gentle heat, until everything is nicely softened.
- Add the tomatoes and allow them to gently cook down in the pan for 5-6 minutes before adding a little cold water – around 350ml or so. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the cucumber.
- Pour the contents into a blender and process until smooth. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- Transfer the gazpacho into a fresh container and allow to cool to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator to chill. For best results chill for a good 3-4 hours before serving.
- To serve, spoon a serving of gazpacho into each bowl or glass, scatter over the reserved diced vegetables and finish with a drizzle of good olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and fresh herbs.
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