Gazpacho Season

You wouldn’t know it from the recent cool, breezy weather – but it’s almost gazpacho season here in the Bay Area.

IMG_3499I love gazpacho. It’s beautiful, bright, and easy to make. It has a refreshing bite that is perfect and cooling on a warm summer day. I’ll serve gazpacho in small cups as part of a weekend brunch or in bowls with a healthy sprinkle of spicy chickpeas and some flatbread for dinner.

A person might consider gazpacho as a soup so easy to make that no recipe is required. Chop a few vegetables, add some tomato juice and Bob’s your uncle. But I don’t believe that’s true. There’s a delicate, nuanced balance in the best gazpacho that isn’t easily achieved if you’re a gazpacho novice. For a hobbyist like me, it’s best to use a recipe – even if it is only as a guide.

This time I chose the gazpacho recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s (ATK) new vegan cookbook. That’s right, ATK has a vegan cookbook. And it’s a good one. It’s called Vegan for Everybody and it promises “foolproof plant based recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between.” In addition the fantastic recipes, it explains to the reader why the recipe works and then, at the back of the book, includes the full nutritional content for those recipes. As I am currently obsessed with tracking every move and morsel, I find this extremely helpful.

It would be wrong of me to reproduce the entire recipe here – you’ll have to beg, buy orIMG_3503 borrow the book for all the details. I will tell you that it includes tomatoes (natch), red bell pepper, cucumber, sweet onion, sherry vinegar, garlic, tomato juice and ice cubes.

Under normal circumstances it doesn’t seem right to mess with any recipe from the hallowed halls of ATK – especially if it’s a new recipe. But I have enough familiarity with gazpacho that I thought I could go a little bit rouge. I added celery to my gazpacho because I like it’s natural saltiness. I added one little turnip for no particular reason other than it was begging to be used.

And although ATK serves us a chunky gazpacho, I used an immersion blender. Serving unblended gazpacho, as the ATK recipe calls for, is a little like pouring tomato juice over a salad, right?

IMG_3505Finally, after allowing the gazpacho to chill for several hours (and the ice cubes to melt), it was ready to serve. To be honest, it’s even better made the day before, when all the complex flavors of the vegetables have had a chance to snuggle up to one another.

I topped the gazpacho with spicy chickpeas and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.