So the weather finally seems to have sorted itself out, and everyone seems to be pretty happy about it. Truth be told though, I’m not really much of a summer person. I spend most sunny days searching out shade, repeatedly sunscreening and running away from wasps. But the incredible abundance of delicious, seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables makes it all worthwhile.
Gazpacho, a simple, cold, tomatoey soup, is one of my absolute favourite things about the summer – seriously. There are many different ways to make it, and this is how I make mine.
500g passata (1 carton)
6 large tomatoes
1 red pepper
½ small white onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sherry vinegar (or cider vinegar if you don’t have it)
½ tbsp lemon juice – more depending on how acidic you like it.
Salt and pepper
Toppings and additions:
Delicately diced vegetables like tomato, cucumber, yellow pepper, red onion, spring onion.
Crunchy things like toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, garlic croutons, crunchy fried onions.
Boil the kettle. Use a sharp knife to score the skin of the tomatoes, and place them in a bowl with hot water from the kettle for about 5 minutes to blanch. Peel the skins from the tomatoes when they are cool enough to handle.
Roughly dice all of the vegetables and place in a big bowl with the passata. Fill the empty passata carton about halfway full with cold water and add that to the bowl too.
Use a hand/immersion blender to blend everything together. I don’t like using a food processor or blender because I think it pulverises everything much too fine – I prefer it with a bit of texture. Apparently blending it totally smooth also destroys a lot of the fibre in the vegetables, so all in all it is better to use a hand-blender.
Add in the olive oil, vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper, stir well and taste. Adjust seasoning if needed and add a little more water if it is too thick.
The soup needs a little bit of time for the flavours to develop, so leave for a few hours, or preferably a day before serving with a selection of fresh and crunchy toppings.