It's summertime in Florida which means hot soups are off the menu. Gazpacho is a traditional chilled raw-veggie soup from Spain with a tomato base. It's like a refreshing liquid salad. I remember John Croatti occasionally making an amazing grilled vegetable gazpacho at the Berkeley Grille so I gave him a call to find out how it's done. Grilling off a few veggies adds a complexity and heartiness to the soup that is worth trying.
Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho
3 ripe tomatoes, cut in half
1 bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 6 pieces
1 zucchini, cut into 1/3" strips (see photo)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tbsp fresh cilantro
2 average sized cucumbers, peeled, halved and seeded
3 cups V8 or tomato juice
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp course salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
The first step is to brush the veggies on both sides with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and place on a hot grill.
Grill for about 3 minutes on each side. You want the zucchini to still be a little firm in the middle. Drop veggies into an ice bath (large bowl filled with ice and water) for a few minutes to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove the skin from tomatoes and peppers.
Pulse tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs in the food processor (the blender would work too) until finely minced but not pureed. 12 pulses should do it.
Finely dice peppers, cucumbers and zucchini by hand. Pour puree into large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. If it is too chunky, add a little extra tomato juice. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours - overnight if you can. The grilled veggie flavor was perfect 24 hours later.
Serve up with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little more cracked pepper.
Sadie quietly ate her whole cup of soup.
Lillie loved the gazpacho as well! Another winner!