This is a summer classic. Make large batches for lunch, supper or any time a refreshing, low-fat pick-me-up or a one-dish meal is needed. You can snack on this soup all day, especially when it’s hot, humid, and the idea of actually cooking is enough to drive you to the drive-thru.
Cook to Cook: Do seek out the type of mild green pepper with a long, triangular shape and thin walls. Called Italian frying peppers and mild banana peppers, they have none of the domineering flavor of green bell peppers. Instead, they bring a soft, mild backdrop to the soup. If unavailable, use a quarter of a diced yellow bell pepper in the soup, saving the rest as garnish. Skip peeling and seeding tomatoes forevermore. The skin and seeds don’t make them bitter, and much of their flavor is in the gel around the seeds.
1. In a blender or food processor combine the onion, garlic, and half the peppers. Sprinkle with vinegar and let stand while peeling the tomatoes.
2. Add the ice to the onion mixture and process until chopped but not puréed. Add half the cucumbers, all but one tomato, the parsley and basil leaves. Process until finely chopped but still chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper and check for balance, adding more vinegar if needed. Chill at least 1 hour. Taste again and thin with cold water if desired. Serve the gazpacho chilled but not stone cold, with bowls of the reserved cucumbers, peppers, scallions, and the remaining tomato (chopped) as garnishes.
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From A Summertime Grilling Guide by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2012 by American Public Media.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.
Sally Swift is the managing producer and co-creator of The Splendid Table. Before developing the show, she worked in film, video and television, including stints at Twin Cities Public Television, Paisley Park, and Comic Relief with Billy Crystal. She also survived a stint as segment producer on The Jenny Jones Show.