I'm half expecting balloons and confetti to fall from the ceiling when I post this recipe. Maybe a high school band will burst through my front door playing something loud and festive. Then they'd applaud me. If this happens, I admit I'll be stunned, and maybe even a little upset at the band for interrupting Henry's nap. But I'll just be pretend-mad, because deep down I'll really be happy (who wouldn't be, right!?). Happy because I finally got my act together and posted something tomato related IN AUGUST. Woah. See, a celebration is indeed called for.
I made this gazpacho as a first course for a dinner I cooked with my friend Philippe, but I'm not going to tell you about that now, I'll tell you about that next. But what I will share now is that when I write that I cooked with my friend Philippe, that's code for "Philippe did all the cooking and I watched. And then ate". Keep that in mind when you read what I post after this recipe.
But back to the gazpacho. If there's ever a time to be making this, it's now. Tomatoes are at their peak and it's hot and summery outside. You can call this a soup, but it's really more like a liquid salad. A refreshingly delicious one at that.
A word of advice: buy the best tomatoes you can. You want quality for this.
6 to 7 ripe tomatoes, peeled* and chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6 or more drops of Tabasco sauce to taste
4 cups tomato juice
1) Combine all ingredients. Blend slightly in a food processor or with an immersion blender, to desired consistency. Place in a non-metal, non-reactive storage container. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, allowing flavors to blend.
*Easy peel those tomatoes! Score an "x" on the bottom of each tomato with a knife and immerse in boiling water for approximately one minute (until you see the skin start to come loose at the "x"). Remove tomatoes and place in ice water. The tomato skin will now easily peel off.