Sometimes, it’s better to run up the white flag and admit defeat. This is one of those times. After many years, many attempts, many perplexed spoonfuls, it’s time to face the truth: I’m just not that crazy about gazpacho.
It’s a raw-tomato thing. No matter how delicately it’s flavored, or how finely it’s blitzed, there’s always that sharp, sweet undertone of raw tomato that stops me cold. I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it does. It always spoils the soup for me. I’ve had–and loved–gorgeous gazpachos based on almonds, or bell peppers, or watermelon. Gazpacho itself doesn’t bother me. But the old-fashioned tomato-based salad-in-a-bowl gazpacho? The one people think of when they think of gazpacho? Not my thing.
It seems bizarre, not to like gazpacho. Almost everyone I’ve met thinks it’s a treat. So I keep trying, thinking that if I make it myself, I’ll like it better. Years pass between attempts, and I forget how unimpressed I was, and start wondering. That last batch I made wasn’t terrible. Maybe I’ll make it right this time, and teach myself to love it. There’s always one more attempt, leading to one more bowl of disappointing soup.
This latest effort was no exception. I thought, maybe if I base this one on cherry tomatoes–which I can sometimes convince myself to eat–I’ll fare better. I left the gazpacho chunky, in deference to Sam (who hates pureed soups), and it was…not pleasant. That tomato tang was there in spades, and every squishy crunch of a tomato hull reminded me of what I was eating.
But Sam seemed to like it. He cleaned his bowl in record time. So, all things considered, this is probably a reasonably tasty gazpacho; I’m just a terrible judge.
Cherry Tomato Gazpacho (serves 4-6)
Adapted loosely from Food Wishes
2 pints (about 1 1/2 lb) ripe cherry tomatoes, divided
1/2 English (seedless) cucumber, finely diced
1/2 medium red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
4 scallions, white and light green parts only, minced
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lime (about 1 tbsp)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Cold water as needed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Finely dice half the cherry tomatoes, and place in a large mixing bowl. Add cucumber, bell pepper, scallions, jalapeno, and salt, and stir to combine. Set aside.
Place the remaining cherry tomatoes in a blender. Add garlic, lime juice, and vinegar, and puree until smooth. If you want a thinner soup, add cold water as needed until the liquid is the consistency you like. Add olive oil and pulse a few times, just until the oil is incorporated. Strain the mixture into the bowl with the vegetables, and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 3 days.
Season the gazpacho with salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold, with a drizzle of olive oil on top.