Cold soup is an oxymoron. Even so, I can’t argue that the many different varieties aren’t refreshing or interesting concepts. For me, the quintessential cold soup has to be gazpacho. It’s really fun to say — gazpacho, gazpacho, gazpacho — but I was never a huge fan until I did some research.

I’ve seen all kinds of variations of gazpacho from some made with stewed tomatoes and others smooth and creamy. Traditionally, gazpacho is pretty chunky, almost like an Italian version of pico de gallo. The Italians love their sweet peppers. I don’t.

I decided to make a version with an emphasis on fresh, raw garden vegetables, minus the red pepper. I didn’t want to weigh it down with cream and cooking it would just remove that crisp freshness. If you like red peppers, by all means, add them to the recipe. I also wanted it in between the really chunky and the smooth style — it had to be more than a cold tomato soup.

Most recipes will have you peeling tomatoes by blanching them in hot water. Not me. My favorite way of getting the tomatoes ready is cutting them in half and removing the seeds. Then I use a large-hole flat cheese grater to grate the tomatoes, over a bowl, down to the skin. This gets the tomatoes to the perfect texture for the soup and I don’t have to deal with skinning.

The first time I made gazpacho I got a hold of a really hot jalapeño. I only used half of it, but boy howdy, it was hot. The soup turned out really well but was so hot I could only eat a small bowl at a time. Definitely, check the heat in your jalapeño or skip it altogether if you don’t like heat at all.

Gazpacho

  • Prep Time: 30m
  • Serves: 4

What's in it:

  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 red onion diced (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cucumber seeded & diced (1 cup)
  • 1/4 c chopped basil
  • 1/2 jalapeño
  • 1 avocado for garnish
  • Salt & pepper to taste

How to make it:

  1. Combine the garlic, onion, cucumber, basil and jalapeño in a food processor. Pulse a few times until blended into small chunks. Add mixture to the grated tomatoes and mix together thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors blend. This is one of those things that gets better over time and will keep for at least a few days.