I love--love--gazpacho. It's ridiculously easy to make; sometimes translated as "liquid salad," all it is is a bunch of vegetables thrown into a blender and whirred up with some olive oil and vinegar. It's done in about 5 minutes, and then just has to chill for a little while in the fridge before being slurped down, preferably with some bread alongside to wipe up any remains in the bowl. And it's the perfect summer dinner: refreshing and light, it's more like a filling beverage than anything else--hence, liquid salad.
Gazpacho can be served in a number ways, with the main variable being its texture. I like my gazpacho very smooth--I strain some of it after blending--and then garnished with chunky diced toppings like cucumber, tomato, red pepper, and hard-boiled eggs. You can choose to just pulse your gazpacho, though, or forego straining it, if you like a thicker texture. Either way, you can't really go wrong. Don't forget to drizzle a bit of fresh olive oil on top before serving, though!
1. Prepare the vegetables, cutting each into large chunks: 1 peeled and seeded cucumber; 1 red or green bell pepper, seeded; 5-6 medium, ripe tomatoes, seeded; and half a white or yellow onion (optional). Peel and crack 2 cloves of garlic. Place the garlic and half of the vegetables in the blender.
2. Add about 2 tbsp. each olive oil and sherry or red wine vinegar to the blender, along with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Add, also, half a slice of bread; blend on high until the mixture is smooth. Strain the soup through a sieve into a large bowl.
3. Repeat process with other half of vegetables, again adding the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and bread. Do not strain this portion; add it to the soup in the bowl, stir well and adjust for seasonings.
4. Chill the gazpacho in the fridge until very cold, about 2 hours (the longer it sits, the better it tastes). Alternatively, you can place a large ziploc bag full of ice in the soup to chill it rapidly.
5. Serve the gazpacho in bowls, garnished with small-diced cucumber, bell pepper, tomato and hard-boiled eggs, if desired. Drizzle some olive oil over each portion.