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You've got to love the long days of summer, don't you? Hot weather, late evening walks, and of course, lots of refreshing food.
One of the favorite summer dishes around my house is gazpacho - my hubby is particularly a fan! While I've certainly tried the more well-known, salsa-y-ish version of gazpacho, I had never tried making the creamy Andaluz version until recently. So, I headed over to one of my favorite recipe sources, Cook's Illustrated, and found a super tasty recipe to try.
Fortified with a slice of bread, and spiked with a generous amount of olive oil, this vegan soup is surprisingly rich, yet perfect for hot, summer weather. I recommend you give it a try if you are looking for a cool, refreshing summer soup, with enough body and flavor to make a meal. Serve it with some rustic bread, and a glass of crisp, white wine, and enjoy!
Roughly chop 2 pounds of tomatoes, half of cucumber, half of bell pepper, and half of onion and place in large bowl. Add garlic, chile, and 1½ teaspoons salt; toss until well combined. Set aside.
Cut remaining tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper into ¼-inch dice; place vegetables in medium bowl. Mince remaining onion and add to diced vegetables. Toss with ½ teaspoon salt and transfer to fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Set aside 1 hour.
Transfer drained diced vegetables to medium bowl and set aside. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid (there should be about ¼ cup) and soak 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid to roughly chopped vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.
Transfer half of vegetable-bread mixture to blender and process 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup oil and continue to blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain soup through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, using back of ladle or rubber spatula to press soup through strainer. Repeat with remaining vegetable-bread mixture and 1/4 cup olive oil.
Stir vinegar, minced herb, and half of diced vegetables into soup and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours to chill completely and develop flavors. Serve, passing remaining diced vegetables, olive oil, sherry vinegar, and black pepper separately.
Notes from Cook's Illustrated: The key to fresh tomato flavor in our creamy gazpacho Andaluz recipe was salting the tomatoes and letting them sit to release more flavor. We then followed the same process with the other vegetables—cucumber, bell pepper, and onion—and soaked the bread, which we used to thicken the soup, in the exuded vegetable juices. A final dash of olive oil and sherry vinegar further brightened the flavor of our gazpacho, and a diced-vegetable garnish made our creamy gazpacho recipe look as fresh as it tasted.
For ideal flavor, allow the gazpacho to sit in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Red wine vinegar can be substituted for the sherry vinegar. Although we prefer to use kosher salt in this soup, half the amount of table salt can be used. Serve the soup with additional extra-virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, ground black pepper, and diced vegetables for diners to season and garnish their own bowls as desired.
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