Oh, Oregon. You silly little state, you. Here we are, well into the month of September and it is positively roasting outside. July and August were nice, but it wasn’t until now that it actually got hot. Our summer arrived two months late. Oh well, better late than never, right?
So, while the rest of the country is gearing up for Fall and drinking pumpkin spice lattes, I’m wearing sundresses and drinking iced coffee. My garden is spewing forth tomatoes at lightning speed, and yet I simply can’t bring myself to cook them. It is far too hot to cook.
So what do I do when it’s too hot to cook? Honestly, I usually go to my favorite taco truck. But, a girl can’t live on tacos alone (Lord knows I’ve tried!). So, this weekend I decided to put my taco cravings aside and instead put all my garden tomatoes to good use. I made a big batch of fresh tomato gazpacho.
I’ll admit, I’m a little embarrassed that I’m posting this so soon after my Fresh Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary recipe. Gazpacho is, after all, not too different than a bloody mary. They are both liquid recipes with a tomato base. They both contain a ton of vegetables and have a hint of spice. But, of course, my gazpacho recipe doesn’t contain vodka. And my bloody mary recipe doesn’t call for stale bread. Really, truly, the two taste completely different. The gazpacho is surprisingly rich, complex, and smoky. The addition of bread crumbs gives the gazpacho a lovely thick texture, and the dollop of avocado on top adds just the right amount of richness. This soup was everything I wanted (and more) on a hot September day.
So, I do hope you’ll forgive me if I continue to post tomato recipes in the coming weeks. As the rest of the country transitions into Fall, the sun is still shining brightly in Portland. So I’m going to celebrate the flavors of summer for as long as I can. I’m going to wear sundresses and eat gazpacho, damn it.
In the wise words of Pedro the Lion: “God bless the Indian summer.” God bless it, indeed.
Makes 4 servings
Note: This recipe could be changed, morphed, & adapted in a million ways. I chose to roast the roma tomatoes as I wanted some of the richness of flavor that comes with roasting the tomatoes. The heirloom tomatoes were just so lovely that I didn’t have the heart to roast them, and I thought a balance of fresh and roasted tomatoes would be nice. If you don’t have the time or energy to roast your own tomatoes or red bell peppers, you can buy either of these items at the store. I highly recommend Muir Glen Organic fire roasted tomatoes.
3 large heirloom tomatoes, skinned & peeled
7-8 small red (Roma) tomatoes
1 piece stale bread
1 red bell pepper
1 mild pepper (such as Anaheim, poblano, etc)
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 small carrots
1/2 of a red onion
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Optional: splash of tomato juice
Avocado, for garnish
Olive oil, for finishing
Prep the vegetables: Peel & seed the cucumber and large heirloom tomatoes. Halve the roma tomatoes and remove as many seeds as possible. Place halved roma tomatoes in a shallow baking dish and place under the broiler until their skins have blackened (5-7 minutes). Once the tomatoes have broiled, the skins should have loosened. Discard skins. (I left a couple of the skins on as I like having the blackened bits in my gazpacho). Using either your broiler or flame (if you have a gas stove), roast your red pepper. Place red pepper over flame (or under broiler), rotating until all sides are blackened. Once skin is blackened, place red pepper in a bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to set in bowl and steam for 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, peel off outer layer of blackened skin.
Gently toast stale bread (in the oven or toaster) until firm & crunchy. Remove crusts and pulse in a food processor, until the bread becomes coarse crumbs.
In a food processor or blender, blend together all vegetables (except avocado) with the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, and paprika (and tomato juice, if using). Puree until smooth. Taste and season with salt (and pepper, if desired).
Chill for at least an hour (the longer, the better), to allow the flavors to meld. Prior to serving, stir in a small amount of olive oil. Garnish with cubes of avocado.