gazpacho shooter

as a kid, i used to love vegs, especially when raw. the greener and the rawer (?) the better. so, naturally, gazpacho was ranked high among my favorite dishes. it’s made entirely of fresh, raw, summer vegs – ripe tomatoes, cucumbers freshly picked from the garden, peppers, chiles – and thus actually a wonderfully healthy treat. the fact that it’s mostly served on hot summer days gives accounts for the best, magic associations. i remember really nice gazpacho kind of nights in our home. and that kind of memories is exactly what i wanted to capture with the last supper club, themed ‘childhood memories’ (see menu above). it was supposed to be both, fun to prepare as well as to eat. because fun is what kids crave and most grown-ups lack, right? i can only speak for myself, of course, but i’m never one to pass an ice cream sandwich down. they just look so darn cute, you can’t help but lick them!

gazpacho shooter
adapted from the hiltl cookbook

1 kg ripe tomatoes (i used a mix of different varieties, also a few heirloom ones and some cherry tomatoes)
1 cucumber
1 red pepper
1 red peperoncino (not of the spicey kind)
1 cup basil leaves
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth, cooled
1 tsp. harissa
1 tsp. acacia honey
1 tsp. fleur de sel (or more to taste)
1/2 lemon, juice (i only used a splash)

stale bread and some butter, for decorating
celery stalks, for decorating

bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. make a cross shaped cut into each (large) tomato (doesn’t work for the cherry tomatoes, don’t go there…) and put them in the boiling water for a minute. cool in ice cold water, then remove the skins. dice. peel the cucumber, half and remove the seeds with a spoon, then dice, too. wash and half the pepper, remove the seeds, then dice. half the peperoncino, deseed, dice. wash the basil leaves, pat dry. peel the onion and garlic, dice, too. put about half of the vegs and the basil in a food processor. add half of the oil and broth for liquid. pulse for a minute or so, to desired consistency (i like my gazpacho smooth but not too smooth). proceed with the rest of the vegs. combine both parts. now season with harissa, honey, salt and lemon juice. you might need to add more liquid, so add a bit more broth if you wish. chill thoroughly for a couple of hours at least. note that when the gazpacho is fully chilled and the flavors have mingled, you might find you need to add more spice or salt. i always think it’s better to season again than to have it overly salted to begin with.

while gazpacho is chilling (haha, i think that’s hilarious… chuckle), melt the butter in a skillet. dice the bread, then fry in the butter until crispy and golden-brown all over. prepare a couple of nice celery stalks. just before serving, divide the gazpacho between glasses or bowls. you might want to add a few ice cubes (man, i like that a lot). scatter with the toasted bread and garnish with celery. serve and enjoy immediately.

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