If you like chunks of fresh veggies in your soup, this is the gazpacho for you. The secret is a quick pickling which helps them stay crisp. Adapted (and dramatically simplified) from a Cooks Illustrated recipe, this is a good way to use the end-of-the-season tomato “seconds” that cost a buck a pound or less. 4-6 servings.
2-3 lbs nice tomatoes
1 small cucumber, peeled and seeded
½ red onion
1 small green bell pepper
½ t Tabasco, or ½ jalapeno, seeded
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Kosher salt, about 2 t total
A big chunk of stale white bread, about ½ cup or more
3 T good olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
Method: take about a third of the tomatoes and half each of the cucumber, onion and pepper and chop into ¼-inch dice. Add ½ t Kosher salt and mix in with your fingers or a spoon. Allow to macerate a half hour during which time the diced vegetables will throw off quite a bit of liquid.
Meanwhile, add the garlic, jalapeno if used and oil and vinegar to the blender and pulse until garlic is pulverized. Add reserved tomato, onion, cucumber and green pepper and blend until liquefied. Add 1 1/2 t salt and blend then taste; the soup should taste a bit undersalted since more salt will be added from the chopped veggies.
Tear or chop bread into 1 inch chunks and pour the liquid from the diced vegetables over it. Work in the liquid with your fingers till the bread is thoroughly moistened. Add to the mixture and the blender and blend till the bread is pulverized. Transfer to a serving/storage bowl and pour in the reserved diced vegetables. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.