My first gazpacho recipe came from Serendipity, a café in Cary that sold delicious lunches and desserts to SAS employees in the days when one had to leave the office, not yet a “campus,” to find lunch. In fact Serendipity is still in Cary. Serendipity’s gazpacho recipe was printed in The News and Observer in about 1980 with a picture of the owners, my fellow LLL Leader Susan and her then-husband John, who did the cooking. Alas, I lost Serendipity’s gazpacho recipe.
Gazpacho is a subject on which many cooks hold firm opinions. Bread or no bread? Chunky or smooth? I fall into the chunky-no-bread quadrant. My favorite restaurant gazpacho nowadays is Melinda Blanchard’s Chunky Gazpacho, served at Blanchard’s Beach Shack and Blanchard’s Restaurant on the island of Anguilla. Melinda adds plenty of dill and her recipe is on page 44 of At Blanchard’s Table: A Trip to the Beach Cookbook, by Melinda Blanchard and Robert Blanchard. At Blanchard’s Table contains lots of other great recipes.
This gazpacho recipe comes from The Charlotte Observer’s Kathleen Purvis who attributes it to her friend Fred Vultee. You can always find Fred’s Really Tomatoey Gazpacho in our fridge during the summer. Gazpacho is forgiving of larger or smaller quantities of vegetables. If you have a dozen little shishito peppers and no large green sweet pepper, that will work.
4 to 5 large tomatoes, plus 1 more tomato for topping
1/2 large sweet onion
1 green sweet pepper, seeded
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
(or sherry vinegar for a lovely jolt)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
a little vegetable or tomato juice if needed
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
chopped fresh basil to taste
Peel all but one large tomato. Cut out the stem end and cut in half. Squeeze out the seeds, then roughly chop the tomatoes. Place in a blender.
Chop half the onion, pepper and cucumber roughly and add to the blender. Dice the remaining onion, pepper and cucumber and set aside. Add the garlic, oil, vinegar, lemon juice and coriander to the blender. Puree until smooth. (Do this in batches if you need to, to keep the blender contents from splashing over.) Add a little vegetable or tomato juice if needed to thin it out a little.
Refrigerate until well chilled. Before serving, dice the remaining tomato and basil and mix with the diced onion, pepper and cucumber. Top soup with some of the chopped vegetables before serving.
Makes about 6 servings.