Is there anything better than a vine-ripened tomato, warmed by the summer sun and bursting with flavor? One of the best parts of summer is the abundance of tomatoes available at your local farmers market, or if you are really lucky, from the tomato plants growing in your own backyard!
Tomatoes are more than just a delicous addition to your kitchen, they are also the best known source of a powerful carotenoid called Lycopene. Lycopene is the pigment that provides the signature, fire-engine red color of this fruit. Lycopene is found in our blood and tissues in greater concentration than any other carotenoid antioxidant, but we cannot manufacture it ourselves. That means we need to get Lycopene through our diet or supplementation in order to experience the free radical scavanging power of Lycopene.
Gazpacho is a soup made from fresh tomatoes, chilled, and served cold. It is raw, vegan, and absolutely delicious. Gazpacho can be a side dish for a BBQ with friends, or the star of your family dinner. Try to save some leftovers for an easy lunch the next day, no re-heating necessary!
Gazpacho recipes vary, and yours may differ depending on the vegetables growing in your garden along with your tomatoes, or depending on what you brought home from the farmer's market. If you are looking for a simple yet refined recipe, Food & Wine magazine offers us a classic rendition plus some tips for making your own.
3 pounds organic tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1 seedless organic cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 organic red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate overnight.
2. In a Vitamix blender or food processor, puree the vegetables until smooth. Strain the soup into a deep bowl, seasoned with salt and pepper, and serve.
Tips for a Better Gazpacho
Food and Wine magazine provides a few of their Test Kitchen Tips to make your gazpacho even more sublime.
- The tomatoes that are sold bagged at the end of the day at farmers’ markets are ideal, but a mix of heirlooms would be perfect, too.
- An easy rule of thumb is three parts tomatoes to one part other ingredients, such as red, yellow and green bell peppers, onions, garlic, scallions, peeled cucumbers and seedless watermelon, all cut into chunks. I sometimes add parsley, cilantro or any other leafy herbs that I have in the fridge.
- Pack the vegetables in the blender, starting with the tomatoes because they’re the juiciest. Add a good splash of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar and a bigger splash of extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper, then puree until chunky or smooth.
- If you want to make a really thick gazpacho, soak a few pieces of country bread in water, squeeze dry and add them to the blender along with the vegetables.
- Pour the gazpacho into a bowl and season the soup to taste with salt and pepper and additional vinegar and olive oil. At this point, you can refrigerate it overnight. Serve it on its own or garnished with a drizzle of olive oil, finely diced vegetables, a dollop of tapenade or pesto, or crisp croutons—Tina Ujlaki, Executive Food Editor
1. You can reserve a small amount of your tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers and dice into very small peices. Garnish your gazpacho with these diced vegetables for an added layer of texture.
2. Blend fresh, organic basil with olive oil and garlic, then drizzle over the top of your gazpacho for another layer of flavor.
3. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp of Synergy Company Tomato Juice Powder before blending your ingredients together for an added boost of tomato flavor and nutritional benefits.
What is your favorite summertime dish? Leave us a comment below!
Classic Gazpacho recipe courtesy of Chef Trey Foshee at Food & Wine.