A few short weeks ago, I was in Barcelona, learning to make authentic Catalan gazpacho. I posted about my amazing experience, here.
It was interesting, after so many years of making different kinds of gazpacho, to come full circle and try the original one. Like the other Catalan dishes I learned there, it was dead simple and delicious. Just really ripe tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, garlic and onion, pureed with good olive oil and salt. Really. No chunks, no garnish, no bread, nothing. It was like a thick, refreshing vegetable juice.
Of course, Other regions of Spain have their own versions. Generally it always contains tomatoes, cukes and sherry vinegar. It’s very Spanish to throw in some stale bread to thicken the soup, too.
Now, in my irreverent and American way, I make gazpacho with strawberries, or nectarines, or canteloupe, as the season moves me. I’ve done tomato free versions for people who are allergic to tomatoes, and almond thickened ones for gluten free soup lovers. It’s really not gazpacho, per se, but since our American idea of gazpacho is “Cold raw vegetable soup, with cukes” I feel that I can do it.
So, since tomatoes are sooooo good right now, I wanted to share a favorite gazpacho recipe from my book, The New Vegetarian, which holds many of my favorite recipes. This one is a gazpacho with cubes of cukes, avocado, and the big surprise, tofu. I wanted to sneak a little healthy plant protein into a light, savory soup, and it’s a neat trick. Silken tofu is so soft and mild, it bobs in a tangy tomato soup and practically melts in your mouth.
Summer Tomato Gazpacho with Silken Tofu and Avocado
(reprinted from The New Vegetarian with permission from Chronicle Books.)
Creamy silken tofu takes two forms in this summery soup- pureed in the tomato base, and in tiny cubes that you can crush on your tongue as you savor the crunchy vegetables. Use the best, ripest tomatoes for this, you may have to wait for summer to come!
1 package silken firm tofu, gently pressed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 small cucumber, seeded and diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced yellow pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
1 large avocado
1 tablespoon lime juice
12 large basil leaves, whole
1. Divide tofu in half. Put the first half in the blender and process, scraping down and repeating until smooth. Add the olive oil, garlic, lime, lemon and salt and process until smooth. Put the tomatoes and cucumber in the blender with the tofu and pulse just to mix and break up some of the tomatoes, don’t puree. Scrape out into a bowl, and stir in the red onion, pepper, and basil. Dice the remaining half of the tofu and fold in.
2. Cut the avocado in half, then use a paring knife to cut the flesh in small squares inside the shell. Use a spoon to scoop out the diced flesh. Drizzle lime over the diced avocado. fold half the avocado into the gazpacho. Serve the gazpacho in bowls, topped with a spoonful of remaining avocado and some basil leaves.