Well that’s enough of cooking chicken in this heat – it is back to soup and salad until the mercury drops below 30!
Gazpacho makes up a big part of my summer ‘cooking’ (is blending together whatever you have in the fridge classed as cooking?) And as I have said, it is practically different every-time depending on what I have left over or to hand (coming up a fruit dessert gazpacho) I have already posted my ‘melon, yellow pepper and cucumber’ variety (gazpacho de melon, poivrons jaunes et concombre) So here is a more traditional variety using tomatoes, which are just coming into season and very cheap at the moment.
I do not add chilli or garlic to my version, but I serve with a little optional dash of Tabasco to the English fire eaters, but leave it mild and refreshing for the delicate French palates (YES I truly do have to cook ‘Franglais’)
I usually serve this as an entrée, but I also serve it in small ‘verrines’ as part of an apero (see gazpacho de melon, poivrons jaunes et concombre) But it can also be served in soup bowls with some garlic ciabatta croutons as a delicious light lunch dish.
This version can actually be used as a salsa by omitting or just using a hint of olive oil and wine vinegar, and adding a little chilli and a touch more seasoning – delicious with chicken and pancetta (to follow very soon)
Serves 4 for an entrée or for lunch
(just half the ingredients for 2 as an entre and 4-6 verrines for an apero)
4 ripe plum tomatoes (you can use regular tomatoes, but the plum variety give more flavour and are less watery – definitely use these if you are making this as a salsa)
½ small cucumber
½ large green pepper
2-4 spring onions depending on size
4-6 fresh basil leaves roughly torn up
A tablespoon of olive oil (the finer and lighter flavoured the better, I used L’Olivier ‘extra’ extra virgin)
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar* (2 cuilliers a soupe)
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce (optional)
Roughly chop the tomatoes, cucumber, pepper and onions and blend into a rustic salsa
Taste and season as required
Add the oil then the vinegar and blend
Finally add the basil and give another quick blend
Pour into serving dishes (it should be a little thicker than soup at this stage)
Add 1-2 ice cubes to each dish, cover and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours to chill and the ice cube to melt to make the texture more liquid)
*I usually use 1 dessertspoon of red wine vinegar plus 1 dessertspoon of Apple vinegar with loganberries (available from IKEA) which gives it a sweeter flavour; but on this instance I used Maille vinaigre with white balsamic, which gave a nice little kick and was not so sharp as using red wine vinegar alone.
To make ciabatta croutons, simple soak some tiny cubes of ciabatta in olive oil flavoured with crushed garlic for a couple of hours (while the gazpacho is chilling) then spread on a preheated baking tray and cook for around 10 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve immediately or allow to cool as preferred.