Beautifully plump, ripe tomatoes can quickly turn into a sad moldy mess in the late summer and early fall. There is only so much proper storage can do to prolong the life of these sensitive fruits when our kitchens are overloaded with flats from the market or overflowing bowls from the garden.
One easy and delicious way to use up those overripe tomatoes is to make a cold gazpacho soup. Add a mix of other vegetable odds and ends sitting in the refrigerator, and you've got a fridge-clearing, fast, and flavorful dinner!
Simple Gazpacho Recipe (serves 4)
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes - coarsely chopped *cut off any moldy bits of the tomatoes - the rest is still fine
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 small onion (preferably red, but use whatever you have) - coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cucumber - coarsely chopped
- 1 bell pepper (optional) - seeded and white parts removed, coarsely chopped *you can also use any leftover peppers you already have in the fridge
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons vinegar (preferably red wine or sherry)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 slice of stale bread (optional)
- Combine all of your ingredients in a blender or food processor. If your bread is very hard, set it aside and puree the other ingredients until they become a rough soup - around 1 minute.
- Bury the stale piece of bread in the mixture and let it sit for about 10 minutes until the bread is soft enough to go through the processor easily. (This step is optional. The bread will make a heartier, thicker soup.)
- Puree the ingredients until it reaches your desired gazpacho consistency. If you are using bread, check to make sure that there aren't large chunks remaining.
- Serve immediately, or transfer the soup to a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Garnish the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh parsley and serve with bread or croutons.
For another take on chilled vegetable rich soup, check out Edible East Bay's recipe for Chilled Cucumber-Spinach Soup.