One of the great easy healthy dishes for the summer is Gazpacho, the Spanish chilled tomato soup. Plus it is a great use of our delicious Farmers Market vegetables.
As I did last week, I’m following Serious Eat’s J. Kenji López-Alt’s process for preparing this dish more than his actual recipe (which you can find at : https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/09/easy-gazpacho-recipe.html). I read somewhere else that you basically just want to keep a balance of 3/4 of the vegetables being tomatoes and the other 1/4 others, so tried to do that. I think I ended up with about 4 pounds of fresh tomatoes and another pound and a half of onions, bell peppers, and garlic, all from Parker Farm. Cucumbers are also commonly added, but I’m not a big cucumber fan so I skipped those, although Parker Farm has those available now for others who want to add them.
I mentioned before that I like Kenji’s recipes because he explains the science behind his approach. It this case, what he does is to salt all the vegetable rather heavily, drizzle with oil and vinegar, and let them rest for half an hour. The salt draws out the watery liquids from the vegetables at the beginning instead of after the soup has been made. He layers them over bread, which sops them up and softens the bread.
After that, just blend them up. I don’t have a regular blender, so I used my immersion blender. My personal addition, however, was that I added about half a can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce to the mixture before blending. That gave it a nice spicy kick that my family likes. I also served it with a splash of the Peak Chipotle Olive Oil I mentioned in my earlier Locavore meal post.
I made that earlier and put it in the refrigerator to chill. Closer to dinner time, I cooked some white beans in my trusty Instant Pot (such a great way to produce beans quickly without having remembered to soak them overnight). Trying to go with a Spanish theme, I sprinkled the cooked beans with Smoked Spanish Paprika, added some fresh chopped bell peppers and onions, and made a vinaigrette dressing with sherry vinegar and olive oil.
I also cooked some broccolini with garlic. The new farmers at the Cary Downtown Farmers Market, LB’s Farm, had some beautiful baby broccoli, also known as broccolini. Part of my coronavirus cooking has been actually blanching vegetables, which I haven’t wanted to bother with before. But after last Monday’s beautiful blanching results for my Pasta Primavera, I blanched the broccolini and they turned so tender and also such a lovely green.
Next I sautéed some garlic in olive oil, then tossed the broccolini in the pan just to warm it up and mix in the garlic, then served it.
I added a fresh baguette to use in sopping up the soup, and…DINNER WAS SERVED!
This was a delicious vegan summertime dinner based almost entirely on local vegetables that we will probably be repeating often over the next couple of months.