Because the lighting scheme in my kitchen is similar to a bat cave, the photo doesn't really capture the beautiful aubergine finish; its gorgeous. Everything at Bennington Potters is gorgeous. If you ever find yourself in the area, by all means stop in and browse around. The craftsmanship is exceptional, everything made by hand, and they will happily give you a tour of their studio. Its a wonderful place to spend an hour or so.
Anyway, my pretty new piece - coupled with yesterday's extreme heat- seemed like a good enough excuse to revisit this simple summer soup. No need to fuss with the slicing and dicing, you'll be using a food processor so a rough chop will do. Serve it with some crunchy tortilla chips and a nice big salad, as I did, and I promise you won't even break a sweat.
Zesty Red Bell Pepper Gazpacho:
- 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and chopped coarsely
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped coarsely
- 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 small stalk of celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 small carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
- one 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
- one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- juice of 1/2 lime
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 slice of whole wheat bread, crust removed (optional)
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. celery salt
- dash of Tobasco Sauce, to taste
- 1 or 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- minced fresh parsley or cilantro (or both!)
- several wedges of fresh lemon
- some crushed blue corn tortilla chips
With the food processor running, add the olive oil through the feed tube and allow the soup and oil to blend until smooth. Add the celery salt, a generous grind of fresh black pepper and the chopped cilantro and pulse until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding the Tobasco Sauce, if desired, and some Kosher salt if necessary. If the mixture is too thick, you may add @ 1/4 cup of water or so, if desired, and pulse again to combine.
Pour the soup into a large container, cover, and chill in the fridge for one hour (or up to 24 hrs.) before serving. Garnish the soup with the minced red onion, some chopped parsley or cilantro (or both!) and serve with a large wedge of fresh lemon to be sprinkled over the soup at table.
As written, this recipe will serve @ 6 as an appetizer, or 4 as a main course.
Careful readers will note the absence of cucumber - and this should come as no surprise. I'm not a fan. The recipe, however, is extremely flexible - so feel free to add or subtract what you will. Ditto for the spices and seasonings. I've made this soup dozens of times and I doubt I've ever made it the same way twice. Yesterday I included some Jim Beam Hot Sauce and a pinch of Hot Hungarian Paprika for fun. Taste and adjust to your own liking and the results will be magnificent, I'm sure.