Here’s a great recipe that is far from the pulpy, clunky, separating gazpacho so often seen in the U.S. The smoothness comes from the inclusion of soaked bread and olive oil.
A very important factor in the gazpacho’s texture is the type of blending machine you use. A food processor is good because the work bowl is so large–but it’s not ideal, because the finished product will probably not be super-smooth. I transfer the almost-finished gazpacho from my food processor to my smaller but higher-powered blender, which makes the gazpacho much smoother. To get truly authentic Spanish smoothness, finish the gazpacho by passing it through a sieve.
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes, cored
- 1 pound cucumbers
- 1½ pounds red bell peppers
- 1 ounce crustless French or Italian bread (weighed after the crust is removed)
- 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup coarsely chopped sweet onion
- 6 tablespoons good olive oil(preferably from Andalucia)
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- A few pinches plmenton (smoked Spanish paprika), optional
1. Place the tomatoes in a small pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and peel. Cut the peeled tomatoes in quarters, and working with your fingers, remove the seeds. Place the peeled and seeded tomatoes in the work bowl of a food processor.
2. Peel the cucumbers, and cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the cucumber seeds with a teaspoon. Cut the cucumbers into coarse chunks and add them to the food processor.
3. Place the peppers directly on an open flame (such as the flame on your stove top) or under a broiler. Scorch them so that they char evenly; this will require turning them every few minutes with a pair of tongs. When the peppers are completely blackened (after about 10 to 12 minutes), remove them from the flame or broiler and place them in a paper bag. Close the bag, and let the peppers rest for 20 minutes. Remove them from the bag and peel off the blackened skin with your fingers. Remove and discard the stem and seeds. Some blackened peel may remain on the flesh, which is acceptable; make sure you do not wash it away with water. Add the flesh to the food processor.
4. Soak the bread in a bowl of cold water for 1 minute, then squeeze out the water. Add the bread to the food processor along with the garlic, onion, olive oil, vinegar, and tomato paste. Process for a few minutes, until a smooth puree is achieved. Transfer to a blender, if desired, and blend further. Season with salt and pepper. Add pimentón, if desired. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.
5. Pour the gazpacho through a sieve. Check the seasoning before serving. Serve from a large pitcher, pouring the gazpacho into individual glasses.
Nutritional information includes 1/8 teaspoon of added salt per serving.