Gazpacho

Ingredients:

5 RIPE tomatoes, peeled
1 cucumber, seeded
1 red or green bell pepper
1/2 zucchini
1 small red onion
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups tomato juice
squeeze of lemon juice
sugar, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Method:

Prepare the tomatoes: Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl with ice water. Core the tomatoes and score the bottom of the tomatoes with an X. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and let them sit for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes and transfer them to the bowl of ice water. Peel the skins off the tomatoes. Halve the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds with your fingers.

Put the tomatoes into a blender and blend until crushed. Cut off and reserve 1 to 2 inches of each of the vegetables cucumber, red or green pepper, zucchini and red onion. Place the remaining larger chunks of the vegetables and the garlic clove into the blender with the tomatoes and pulse until the mixture is the desired consistency smooth or chunky.

Add the red wine vinegar, olive oil and tomato juice and blend again briefly. Season with the lemon juice, sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Let the soup chill completely in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

While the soup is chilling, finely chop the reserved cucumber, red or green pepper, zucchini and red onion and mix together in a small bowl. When you are ready to serve, blend the soup for one more second and pour into bowls. Garnish the soup with the finely chopped vegetables and sprinkle some fresh parsley on top. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and enjoy with a nice piece of grilled Italian bread.
Serves 6 to 8

Helpful Hints:

This is a classic summer soup, full of goodness. Sometimes, if I'm feeling crazy, I'll throw some almonds into the blender too. That's more traditional with a green gazpacho, but I don't see why the red gazpacho should be left out!


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