Ahhhh, the cold summer soup. Its appeal is something that alluded me as a child. Growing up, even in the summer when I was on vacation from school, I spent years eating my great-grandmother's chicken noodle soup. Nana Fracaro's rich broth - a true bone broth, I learned retrospectively - mixed with tubettini noodles was always a favorite of mine. It was comforting, familiar, and HOT.
On the other hand, my paternal grandmother, affectionately known as Mamie, was a culinary adventurous world traveler with a fearless palate for many cuisines. What she made often didn't not match my picky fearful juvenile palate. I still remember the first time trying her vichyssoise, absolutely dumbfounded as to why anyone would create a cold potato soup. Her gazpacho was no different. Tomato soup was supposed to be hot and creamy, poured out of a can with the word "Campbell's" elegantly scrolled in white on its outside! Gazpacho, in my youth, was tantamount to eating cold pasta sauce. Its appeal went over my head.
Mamie, I have learned years later that you were totally on the ball!
Gazpacho is a soup I tend to make en masse during warmer months. The key to surviving any summer in a heat-trapping Manhattan apartment is to not use the stovetop or oven and to make multiple cold soups and salads to store in the fridge! It's fresh, it's filling, and it's light. A nice piece of crusty bread and a side salad complement it well. Its flavors absolutely get better if you allow them to develop for a day or two. However, most times I make it, it does not last more than two days in my fridge!
The ingredient list is simple. I encourage you to utilize your local farmers' markets to take advantage of your luscious local summer vegetables. Admittedly, I love adding two things to my gazpacho: a little bit of avocado and a little bit of mango! The avocado adds a bit of creamy bulk to your bites, and the mango just adds an unexpected sweetness to counter the acidity of the tomatoes; some gazpacho recipes use added sugar (...eep!) to counter that acidity, but I'd rather use the mango's natural sugar to do so. These additions are technically optional, sure, but I dare you to be adventurous!
Classic Gazpacho with Avocado & Mango
(Makes approximately 6 cups)
- 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cubed (roughly 4 cups)
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 small white onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 avocado, cubed small
- 1/4 mango, cubed small
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Regarding Step #2 in the directions, if you have a smaller blender, please do this step in batches, as I am sure you'd rather not clean gazpacho off of your counters and walls. (I'm taking a wild guess here. Ha!) If you do not have a traditional blender and are using an immersion (hand) blender, place the ingredients in a large deep bowl to blend.
- If you'd rather use a yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, or orange bell pepper, I will not stop you from doing so. ;-)
1.) Set roughly 1/4 of the diced cucumber and roughly 1/4 of the diced bell pepper aside; these will be added into the blended gazpacho later.
2.) In a large blender, add tomatoes, remaining 3/4 of cucumber, remaining 3/4 of bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Blend at a high speed for approximately 45 - 60 seconds until all vegetables are uniformly combined. Scrape down the sides of your blender or bowl (see Notes) with a rubber spatula, if necessary. Add vinegar and olive oil and pulse to combine.
3.) Pour gazpacho into a large bowl (if blended in traditional blender) and add the set-aside diced cucumber and diced bell pepper. Add salt to taste. Allow to refrigerate for at least four hours, though overnight is best!
4.) Before serving, add avocado, mango, and olive oil to garnish.