If heat could speak, then it’s shouting right now. It’s so hot outside, the candles have melted on the terrace, the dog hasn’t moved since yesterday, and we have blankets pinned down over our skylights to keep out the sun. In this heat, food must be easy, cool and light. Preparation should be kept to a minimum, and any heat generating appliances forbidden. In our home, this means it’s time for Gazpacho.
When I make gazpacho, we know that summer has arrived. We are dining al fresco, and the temperature is approaching triple digits. It’s a hot weather dinner staple that’s followed us from country to country, always called upon when we are in the midst of a heatwave. This gazpacho is chunky, and we affectionately call it a liquid salad. Not a fan of mushy consistencies, I dice all of the vegetables and float them in seasoned tomato juice. The result is a cool soup with loads of crunch and texture, satisfying and refreshing to eat. And in this heat, crunching our soup is the most exertion we can manage.
Serve with cheese and bread, melon and prosciutto and a chilled rosé or sauvignon blanc. Serves 6-8.
32 ounces or 1 liter tomato juice
4 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, diced, with juices
2 spring onions, white parts thinly sliced, green parts reserved for garnish
1 English cucumber, seeded, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1 sweet red pepper, seeded, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1 small fennel bulb, fronds removed, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (or parsley)
Cilantro or parsley
Combine all of the ingredients, except the cilantro in a large bowl. Mix together and taste for seasoning. Refrigerate at least one hour or up to 6 hours. Before serving, stir in the cilantro. Serve ganished with sliced green parts of the spring onions, sliced jalapeños, additional cilantro and lime wedges.