Ravenous Fig

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Andalusian Gazpacho for the soul

Andalusian Gazpacho

It's tomato week here at the Kite house. It's been about 4 months since Vance and I had two "normal" weeks together, home alone, without travel, without company, without places to go and hotels to stay in — so I finally had a chance to plan the Saturday through Thursday meals (Friday we let someone else cook). Suffice it to say that the week's produce haul included at least $15 worth of local heirloom tomatoes.

On top of being tomato week, it's also veggie week. Durham has so many local, sustainable options for meat that we've been consuming far more than our usual share of land animals. Acme, Six Plates, Dos Perros, and Piedmont (to name a few) have treated us well, but also left us with the urge to drink copious amounts of ginger tea at the end of the night. With that in mind, we're eating plenty of grain salad, soup and veg for a few days.

In preparation for our first Relevance "family" dinner, we're also cooking our way through the menu, starting with the gazpacho. This Andalusian gazpacho is one I served to Vance when he took a train from Florida for our third anniversary. It's silky smooth and deceptively simple. Serve it with some crusty bread and a bit of olive oil for a light meal that will leave you feeling refreshed.

Classic Andalusian Gazpacho

This recipe comes straight from the beloved Gourmet Magazine. Use the best ingredients you can find and have a good-sized food processor or blender on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 (2-inch-long) piece baguette, crust discarded
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar (preferably "reserva"), or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 2 1/2 lb ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 1/2 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Andalusian hojiblanca)
  • Garnish: finely chopped red and green bell peppers

Preparation

Soak bread in 1/2 cup water 1 minute, then squeeze dry, discarding soaking water.

Mash garlic to a paste with salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash with a large knife). Blend garlic paste, bread, 2 tablespoons vinegar, sugar, cumin, and half of tomatoes in a food processor until tomatoes are very finely chopped. Add remaining tomatoes with motor running and, when very finely chopped, gradually add oil in a slow stream, blending until as smooth as possible, about 1 minute.

Force soup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing firmly on solids. Discard solids.

Transfer to a glass container and chill, covered, until cold, about 3 hours. Season with salt and vinegar before serving.

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