Though tomato farmers this year are faced with a blight and they are not as abundant as usual, tomato season has arrived and the craving in my household for all things tomato is unabashed. One of our favorite ways to welcome the season is with a good gazpacho, the Spanish cold tomato soup. I have not encountered a better or easier recipe for this Andalusian classic than the one Jose Andres credits to his wife, Tichi, in his book, Tapas, A Taste of Spain in America, one of my favorites.
The basic recipe couldn't be simpler, using the ingredients pictured above along with a bit of salt. To serve four, Andres recommends 2 pounds of ripe tomatoes, 1/2 pound of cucumber, 3 oz. green bell pepper (about half a pepper), 1 peeled garlic clove, 2tbs sherry vinegar, 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (Andres suggests Spanish, but any good olive oil will do) and 2 tsp salt. Blend and strain, chilling afterwards for at least 30 minutes. taste for balance after the initial blending and adjust to taste. Depending on the water content of the tomatoes some water may need to be added to thin the mixture. Andres suggests a number of items to garnish the soup, though we like it just as it is in the tall glass in the photo above. Adding some boiled or grilled shrimp wouldn't be bad, though.
My wife made some earlier in the week. It was so good, she made a second batch. Even though our weather in the Northeast hasn't made the season feel too summery, Tichi's gazpacho has gone a long way to remedying that.