Monday, July 20, 2009

Embracing Summer - Gazpacho

I’m really close to giving up on Summer 2009. The heat and sunlight just don’t seem to be reaching Montreal. We get a glimpse of blue sky and a hint of warmth every now and then, but then they disappear the very next day.

But, well… When the sun does come out, it’s lovely. I’ve taken to popping out for walks whenever the weather isn’t too menacing, which might actually mean that I’m getting out more than I would if it were sunny all the time. Plus, Q-Tip can’t stand heat very well, so I always worry about her when it gets too warm; the way it’s been so far, I can rest easy.

In the meantime, the crops of vegetables and fruit have been more than adequate. I’ll write about fruit some other time, but today’s star is tomatoes. Yes, I know, tomatoes are technically fruit. Whatever.

I’d been meaning to make gazpacho for a long time. I associate this cold tomato soup with the summer I went on holiday in Barcelona, and I remember loving its crisp taste, smooth texture and fresh aftertaste. Until recently, I’d only made it once, last year. I’d followed a recipe from a soup-themed book I have, but it hadn’t been a success: it tasted bland and too thick. My guess is that blending rye bread into the soup was not a good idea – even if it is the traditional way to do it.

I tried again recently, this time combining elements from two different recipes I had on hand. The result was much better: with a few slices of fougasse (which I wish I could say I had made myself, but no, I’m not quite there yet), it was a perfect summer dinner. I went a little heavy on the spices (especially the cumin), but it was just right for our taste. And I can honestly say it tasted even better when I had the leftovers for lunch the next day: the flavours had developed more.

Plus, it gave us a chance to use our brand-new blender! I’d never owned one before, and had always gotten by with a hand blender, but this new gadget certainly makes some tasks a lot easier!


Serves 3-4

For the soup:
4 red tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1/4 red onion
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded
1/3 cucumber, peeled
750 ml (3 cups) tomato juice, chilled
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tbsp ground cumin
5 fresh mint leaves
A few dashes of Tabasco
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the garnish:
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1/3 red onion
1 red tomato, or a handful of cherry tomatoes

Make the soup:
Coarsely dice the tomatoes, garlic, onion, bell pepper, and cucumber. Put them all in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the vinegar, sugar, cumin, Tabasco, mint, salt and pepper, and blend again until combined. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the tomato juice. Refrigerate until chilled and ready to serve.

Make the garnish:
Slice the cucumber. Dice the bell pepper, onion, and tomato (if using a large one). Put each ingredient in a separate saucer or small bowl, and serve alongside the gazpacho, to incorporate as desired.


  1. Yay! A new blender! It's always exciting when you get a new toy. Did you name it yet??

    Ugg, I know what you mean about the weather, insane eh! Non stop rain.

    The gazpacho looks wonderful, perfect for a day like today... the only day it hasn't rained in weeks!

  2. You gazpacho looks tasty! I have never made some... maybe I should give it a try?

  3. Sorry to hear that your weather is not what it should be for summer... but hey, join the club...:) Summer is hardly what it is supposed to be in this area of the world, so I know what you're going through! Love the gazpacho. For some reason I've never made gazpacho myself while I do love it, so maybe I should try your recipe... It must be lean as well, so will be perfect diet wise..:)

  4. Christie: It hadn't occurred to us to name the blender, but now Laurent has decided to name it "Cyclone". I think it's quite appropriate.

    Simone: Yes, this is definitely a good diet soup. As you can see, I didn't even put any oil in it, and it's full of flavour, and very filling.

  5. This is the food I could live on all summer long! I feel cheated when there's non left in the fridge.
    Wonderful photos.

  6. MMMMMM,....your gazpacho looks so delicious & easy!! Yummie yum!

  7. J'ai manqué de temps cette semaine, mais heureusement que j'ai pris 2 minutes pour regarder ce que tu avais fait dernièrement, car j'aurais manqué ton magnifique gazpacho!
    Ne désespère pas, il nous annonce du beau temps pour la semaine prochaine:)) Enfin, j'espère!
    J'aime beaucoup le nom de ton nouveau jouet...