Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fresh Tomato Gazpacho – Crumbled Stale Wet Bread Sold Separately

I feel kind of bad posting a recipe that leaves out what is arguably the most important ingredient, and such is the case with this gazpacho. This garden salad masquerading as a cold soup was originally a way for field hands to stretch their resources by crumbling up stale bread into a mixture of crushed tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.

Sorry, panzanella, but I’ve never been a big fan of the whole wet bread thing. Even versions I’ve had where the crumbs where completely pureed in, weren’t as pleasing to me as all-veg versions. Besides, some culinary traditions are simply leftover from a time when people had to do it that way, you know, so they wouldn’t starve to death. I call this the rutabaga syndrome.

Happily, most of us can now survive just fine without fortifying our gazpacho with such additions. Having said that, if you grew up eating that style, I’ll assume you think I’m insane for even suggesting there’s another way to make it, as you rightfully should.

Like I said in the video, this is not even worth trying unless you’re going to use some killer, end-of-summer, super-sweet tomatoes. After a long wait, we finally have some decent ones here in San Francisco. There just isn’t any substitute, so happy hunting, and I hope you find some so you give this a try. Enjoy!

4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced green onion
1 large jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch dried oregano
cayenne to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pint “Sweet 100” cherry tomatoes
1 lime, juiced, or to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
chiffonade of fresh basil leaves or cilantro

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