If heat could speak, then it was shouting this weekend. Summer arrived with a bang, and the temperature soared to triple digits. When it’s that hot, appetites wane and thirst dominates. Food takes on a cool and liquid quality. It’s time for Gazpacho.
Gazpacho is a raw tomato-based soup blended with a vegetable bowl of produce. It’s perfect when the weather is stifling. No cooking is required, the spiced tomato juice quenches thirst, and a confetti of chopped vegetables refresh and nourish. I prefer to keep my gazpacho chunky, taking pleasure in each slurpy mouthful of crunchy vegetables mingling with cool juice. In this recipe, I’ve taken the variation one step further by adding celery, Worcestershire sauce and a generous squirt of Tabasco, thus evoking a Bloody Mary. Why stop there? If you’re in the mood and appropriately mature, serve the soup in a glass and add a shot of vodka for a wondrous beverage/soup/salad in a glass – a perfect antidote for a hot and shouty day.
Bloody Mary Gazpacho
4 cups tomato juice
2 vine-ripened tomato, stemmed and seeded, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1/2 English cucumber (or 2 Persian cucumbers), seeds removed, finely diced
1 small jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Tabasco™ sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
Parsley sprigs for garnish
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to blend and taste for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to chill and allow the flavors develop. Before serving, stir in the vodka if using. For each 1 cup (8 ounces) of gazpacho, add ½ ounce vodka (or to taste). Serve garnished with parsley sprigs and lime wedges for squeezing.