Yield
Serves 6 to 8
Time
1 hour 15 minutes, plus 1 hour refrigeration before serving prep, 2 hours 15 minutes total

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.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium Italian frying pepper (or other mild, thin-walled pepper), seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons each wine vinegar and Spanish sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced (small pickling cucumbers are even better — use 2 to 4 depending on size)
  • 3-1/2 pounds ripe, medium-size, delicious tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 12 fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 whole scallions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

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.

From A Summertime Grilling Guide by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2012 by American Public Media.