One Cool Soup
Gazpacho celebrates the bounty of the season with farm fresh vegetables by the ladleful
It’s farmers market season (see our Dish feature on page 102), and an abundance of garden-fresh veggies make this a perfect time to make gazpacho.
And many folks may be surprised to know this delightful chilled soup——wonderful in the summertime—has strong Virginia roots.
In fact, an early recipe called “Gaspacha-Spanish” appeared in Mary Randolph’s The Virginia Housewife cookbook in 1824; she may have heard about the dish from her sister who lived in Spain.
“Put some soft biscuit or toasted bread in the bottom of a sallad bowl, put in a layer of sliced tomatas with the skin taken off, and one of sliced cucumbers, sprinkled with pepper, salt and chopped onion; do this until the bowl is full, stew some tomatas quite soft, strain the juice. Mix in some mustard and oil, and pour over it: make it two hours before it is eaten.”
1 cucumber, halved and seeded
1 red bell pepper, halved and cored/seeded
1 yellow bell pepper, halved and cored/seeded
1 large tomato
1 small sweet onion
2–3 cloves garlic
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, stems trimmed
3 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Rough chop cucumber, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, tomato and onion. Add, along with garlic and parsley, to a food processor and pulse until vegetables are chopped coarse; do not chop too fine or puree.
Add chopped vegetables to a large bowl with tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, black pepper and red pepper. Mix well, cover, and chill at least three hours before serving. Just before serving drizzle lemon juice on top.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with Bay Seasoned Cornbread Croutons.
Yields 4–6 servings
BAY SEASONED CORNBREAD CROUTONS
1 8-inch square pan day-old cornbread
3–4 tablespoons melted butter
1–2 teaspoons bay seasoning
Preheat oven to 400F. Cut cornbread into 1/2-inch cubes and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle on melted butter and lightly toss to coat. Sprinkle on bay seasoning (or salt and pepper) and lightly toss to coat.
Bake for 10–15 minutes or until cornbread crisps and turns golden. Turn cornbread hallway through baking. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before enjoying on soups, salads and the like.
Yields 4-6 servings
Note: HRM food editor Patrick Evans-Hylton has crafted a Virginia-style bay seasoning spice mix based on a 200-plus year old recipe; look for it in gourmet shops across the region and online at www.Rowenas.com under “Shop” and “Virginia’s Finest Specialty Foods.”