Looking for a cool way to beat the heat? And you want flavor and color too? Oh, and you want it in under an hour. I have one word: gazpacho. This refreshing summer soup is typically made from a puree of garden-fresh tomatoes and vegetables, dried bread, a little oil for body and something bright -- vinegar, lemon juice -- to liven the flavors. Gazpacho is simple, and there are so many variations to try. May we offer some suggestions? You can find the related recipes below.
We've got you covered with this Andalusian garden gazpacho, which combines tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, onion and a little garlic in a refreshing and colorful chilled soup. Make it in less than 30 minutes. You can prepare it first thing in the morning, then refrigerate it so it's well-chilled before serving.
For a variation on classic gazpacho, try this white gazpacho with grapes. Nicely thickened with soaked bread and ground almonds, the simple soup is further flavored with a few cloves of garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar. Garnish it with green grapes and dinner is served.
Love summer melons? Chef Todd Aarons from Tierra Sur shared his recipe for this light, refreshing melon soup, perfect for this time of the year. He suggests using heirloom melons from the farmers market, such as those from Weiser Family Farms. He particularly likes their Sugar Queen, butterscotch or Ogen melons. Aarons also suggests using slightly underripe melons, since you don't want the soup to be too sweet.
For more easy dinner recipes, click through our photo gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below, or email me at email@example.com.
ANDALUSIAN GARDEN GAZPACHO
Total time: 30 minutes, plus optional chilling time
Servings: 6 to 8
Note: The gazpacho should be the consistency of light cream. If it is to be served for sipping, thin with additional water. Lemon juice can be substituted for the vinegar.
4 slices bread, crusts removed (4 ounces), plus 2 slices bread, diced and fried in a little olive oil (for garnish), divided
1 1/2 cups cold water, plus extra to soak the bread, divided
5 tomatoes (about 2 pounds), plus 1 small tomato, finely chopped (for garnish), divided
2 cloves garlic
Small piece of green bell pepper, plus extra finely chopped green pepper (for garnish), divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped, for garnish
1 small white onion, finely chopped, for garnish
1. Break the 4 slices crustless bread into chunks and soak it in water to cover until softened.
2. Remove cores from the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into chunks and puree in a blender or food processor. Press the juice and pulp through a sieve, discarding the bits of skin and seeds.
3. Squeeze the water from the bread and place it in a blender or food processor with the garlic. Blend until smooth.
4. Add the tomato pulp, green pepper, cumin and salt. With the blender running, add the oil in a slow stream. Blend in the vinegar and some of the 11/2 cups cold water.
5. Place the gazpacho in a pitcher and add the remaining water. This makes about 4 1/2 cups gazpacho. Serve immediately, or chill until serving time.
6. To serve, pour the gazpacho into individual bowls. Place each of the garnishes (finely chopped green pepper, cucumber, onion, tomato and crisp bread) in small bowls. Pass the garnishes with the gazpacho and allow guests to serve themselves.
Each of 8 servings: 190 calories; 3 grams protein; 17 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 5 grams sugar; 728 mg. sodium.
WHITE GAZPACHO WITH GRAPES (Ajo blanco con uvas)
Total time: 25 minutes, plus optional chilling time
Note: This gazpacho is best made with fresh almonds, shelled, blanched and skinned. To blanch and skin almonds: Bring a saucepan of water to a full boil. Add the almonds and blanch them for 60 seconds. Drain. While they are still warm, slip the skins off.
6 slices day-old bread, crusts removed (6 ounces)
1 cup blanched and skinned almonds
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water, plus extra for soaking the bread, divided
12 green grapes, seeds removed if there are any
1. Soak the bread in enough water to cover until it is softened. Squeeze out the water and place the bread in a food processor or blender with the almonds and garlic. Pulse until the almonds are finely ground.
2. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow stream, then the vinegar and salt. Blend in some of the 2 cups water, then pour the mixture into a pitcher and add remaining water. This makes about 4 1/2 cups gazpacho.
3. Serve immediately or chill until serving time. Stir before serving. Serve the gazpacho in small bowls with grapes.
Each of 4 servings: 576 calories; 11 grams protein; 32 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 47 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 6 grams sugar; 1,464 mg. sodium.
TIERRA SUR'S HEIRLOOM MELON GAZPACHO
Total time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time
Servings: 4 to 6
Note: Adapted from chef Todd Aarons at Tierra Sur in Oxnard.
2 cups cubed French baguette or batard, all crusts removed, and cut into small cubes (about 1 baguette), divided
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine, Champagne or sherry vinegar
4 cups cubed, peeled and seeded melons (preferably heirloom, such as Sugar Queen, butterscotch, Ogen, Ananas)
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra oil for frying the croutons
3 dried bay leaves, ground to a powder
1/2 cup ice cubes, or as needed
Smoked paprika, garnish
1. In a bowl, soak 11/2 cups cubed bread in the vinegar.
2. Meanwhile, using a blender or food processor, puree the melons and red onion. Add the soaked bread and vinegar to the food processor and puree until completely smooth.
3. With the motor running, slowly add the one-fourth cup olive oil, then the ground bay leaves. Taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt.
4. If the soup is overly thick, add a few ice cubes and puree until the desired consistency is achieved. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and vinegar.
5. Transfer the soup to a nonreactive metal bowl and chill before serving. This makes about 4 cups soup.
6. While the soup is chilling, fry the garnish. Pan-fry the remaining cubes of bread in a hot skillet with a little olive oil until evenly toasted and golden-brown. Season to taste with a light sprinkling of salt.
7. Serve the soup, garnished with a few croutons and a sprinkling of paprika.
Each of 6 servings: 145 calories; 2 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 10 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 93 mg. sodium.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun