From Cook’s Illustrated. Published July 1, 2001.
Makes about 3 quarts, serving 8 to 10.
Welch’s and Fresh Samantha’s are our favorite brands of tomato juice for this recipe – not too thick, with a bright, lively flavor. This recipe makes a large quantity because the leftovers are so good, but it can be halved if you prefer. Traditionally, diners garnish their gazpacho with more of the same diced vegetables that are in the soup, so cut some extra vegetables when you prepare those called for in the recipe. Additional garnish possibilities include simple garlic croutons, chopped pitted black olives, chopped hard-cooked eggs, and finely diced avocados. For a finishing touch, serve in chilled bowls.
3 ripe medium beefsteak tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), cored and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
2 medium red bell peppers (about 1 pound), cored, seeded, and cut into slices (following illustrations below), then into 1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
2 small cucumbers (about 1 pound), one peeled and the other with skin on, both seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1/2 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia, Maui, or Walla Walla) or 2 large shallots, peeled and minced (about 1/2 cup)
2 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons table salt
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
ground black pepper
5 cups tomato juice
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
8 ice cubes
extra-virgin olive oil for serving
1. Combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, salt, vinegar, and pepper in a large (at least 4-quart) nonreactive bowl. Let stand until the vegetables just begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato juice, hot pepper sauce, if using, and ice cubes. Cover tightly and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days. 2. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and remove and discard any unmelted ice cubes. Serve cold, drizzling each portion with about 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and topping with the desired garnishes, (see top note).
Pick Apart a Pepper
Using chef’s knife, cut 1/2 inch from top and bottom of pepper.
Slice from top to bottom, then flatten pepper with skin side facing down.
Pull out seedbed, then trim white ribs from inside pepper.
Cut pepper lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips.