My colleague Kyle brought cucumbers from her garden to the office, graciously sharing the bounty of her nine (!) plants. These were no ordinary cukes; nay, they were the size of small missiles. Since I failed two years in a row with cucumbers, I snatched one up pronto.
With this vision dancing in my head: cukes + tomatoes = gazpacho! The Spanish-inspired summer soup is one of my all-time favorites.
Everyone has a favorite gazpacho recipe. Some puree their gazpacho smooth. Some put bread in it as a thickener (truly Spanish). Lore claims that Christopher Columbus went forth on his explorations with an early version of it. I am not surprised.
My “recipe” is so eclectic that no batch is ever the same, but I like a toothsome gazpacho, with some chunks of veg so you appreciate the produce that made it possible. My secret ingredient is V-8. What’s your recipe?
Take a bow, tomatoes and cukes – you are a pairing made in heaven.
Saylor Place Gazpacho
1 small cuke or half of one of Kyle’s giant cukes, peeled & seeded
Several tomatoes, seeded
Half a bell pepper, seeded
Two tablespoons onion (Vidalia, scallions, chives, whatever is at hand)
Two small cloves garlic
Couple squirts of a umami item, like Worcestershire or soy sauce
Tablespoon of red wine vinegar
Tablespoon of olive oil
Sprinkle of CRR’s hot pepper flakes
Whirl the veg in batches in your food processor to the size desired. Dump into a pitcher. Add V-8 in roughly a 2-to-1 proportion to the other ingredients, but hey, it’s up to you. The V-8 essentially provides the liquid base for the soup. Briskly whisk together until the oil emulsifies. Season to taste. Chill or serve at room temp.
Sandy Johnson is a journalist and a gardener, equally passionate about both. She lives in Alexandria, VA. Visit her on her blog, Grassroots & Gardening