Friday, August 3, 2007

Gazpacho -- saved by the soup

It's been so unbearably hot here in Boston, that we've been stuck at home eating cold soups. Since I am from Moscow, this hot weather does not sit well with me. You can always put on more clothes when it's cold, but you can only take off so much when it's hot. The good news is that any nasty weather (hot or cold) can be combated with soup, or at least I'd like to think that. As soon as the last bowl of cold borsh disappeared, I made a huge batch of gazpacho to hold us over until the weather gets better and I can consider turning on the stove again.

I can't believe I've had this blog for almost 2 years and never wrote about gazpacho. It is my most requested recipe! The thing is, it's not actually my recipe. I got it from the class I took with Didi Emmons, the chef/owner of Veggie Planet in Harvard Square. It's in her book, Entertaining for a Veggie Planet under the name "Top Dog Gazpacho." I am not big on cookbooks, but this one is really fantastic -- not only are the recipes very creative, they actually work! With other books, I find myself modifying recipes until they are barely recognizable to suit my taste, but this gazpacho, as most of Didi's recipes, is so fabulous that I only made one itsy bitsy little change (sorry I couldn't resist). I don't blanch the corn kernels. In the summer, when I make this soup, the corn is so sweet and delicious, it's best to add it raw to give your soup that extra sweet and juicy crunch.

My Adaptation of Didi Emmons' Gazpacho

Serves 4

1/3 cup whole almonds, skin on (if possible buy them toasted)
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 orange, red, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
a generous handful of fresh cilantro (you really can't use too much)
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 ears corn
Salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste
  1. If you bought your almonds raw, sorry -- you'll have to preheat the oven. But if the heat it really outrageous, I am sure nothing terrible would happen if you just used raw almonds. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a food processor, process the almonds until finely chopped. Add tomatoes, bell peppers, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil and pulse until consistency of an oatmeal (almost pureed, but not quite). Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and add to soup.
  4. Add up to 1 cup cold water if the soup is too thick for your liking. Season the gazpacho with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. If you are impatient like me, you can speed up the chilling process by adding ice-cubes to soup instead of water.


BipolarLawyerCook said...

Oh, this looks great, and I like the almonds in place of bread-- looks like I am off to the market!

Anonymous said...

cold soup is just really strange to me..

MikeK said...

Gazpacho is one of my favourite soups, together with Akroshka (which I'm sure you also make, but if you don't, you most certainly should!).

It's too bad this recipe is so heavy on the peppers (which I can't stand), maybe I'll just ommit them.

Back to what I started with, do you have a favourite akroshka recipe? They're pretty simple to make and are great in the summer heat, why not share it with the american populace? I myself like the yogurt-based one. I don't use any kvas.

Helen said...

Hi Mike,

I have never made akroshka since I can't find a kvas I like in US. I remember having it as a kid in Moscow and really liking it. Would you mind sharing your yogurt-based recipe?


Arfi Binsted said...

i love almonds. I haven't made gazpacho yet. I'd like to try it one day.

sb said...

Hello Helen,

You might like to know that there is article in this weeks NYTimes Magazine about Salmon alone.

emiglia said...

I love gazpacho in restaurants, but I've never found one I liked... either too many ingredients/chopping (too much work in the heat) or not interesting enough flavor. I had pretty much sworn off trying, but the almonds in yours are piquing my interest... I'll have to try it and get back to you.

Anonymous said...

You guys can also try Armenia akroshka. It's a major weight-loss recipe and it's all i eat-which isnt a bad thing since i love it so much.

you start off cutting the cucumbers into miniature pieces as many as you like.
then you chop chives in there, 12 sticks of chives should do it

Then you chop in a batch of silanchro and any other greens you would like in it

Then you mix the ingredients and add plain yogurt-enough to really sink in the greens. When you've stirred them all together, and it's thick, add enough water to it so it doesn't become to watery and lose its flavor. Then stir it very well, and add as much salt as you would like. It's very delicious, and if you're not a carb freak like i am, it tastes extraordinary with bread!