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What began as a cold summertime soup in the Andalusia region of southern Spain has had hundreds of variations throughout America. Traditional gazpacho revolves around a puree of vegetables, including tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, cucumber and garlic.
In the past I've adapted the concept to make white buttermilk gazpacho, zucchini gazpacho, mango gazpacho and an exotic fruit gazpacho. The original cold Spanish soup was an antidote to the searing-hot summers throughout Spain. I also love the variation called salmorejo from the historic town of Cordoba, where the soup is classic tomato and cucumber but is blended with at least a half cup of olive oil, which gives it a beautiful emulsified color and rich flavor.
In this lighter twist on classic gazpacho, tomatoes, scallions and corn are grilled until nicely browned, offering up a slightly smoky flavor to the soup. The cucumbers and peppers remain diced, and less traditional ingredients such as anchovy paste, grilled corn kernels, diced avocado and sour cream enliven the flavor and texture of the chilled soup. If I have any leftover, I like to serve it as a sauce to accompany grilled fish. Use your imagination and your favorite vegetables to personalize this updated dish.
Serves 6 to 8
For the gazpacho:
6 medium ripe tomatoes, cores removed and halved horizontally
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil spray
3 ears of corn
6 scallions, root and dark green ends trimmed
3 garlic cloves, ends removed
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
3 cups V-8 juice
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons fruity olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
2 medium cucumbers or 1 large European cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1 medium avocado, diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
12 to16 Parmesan or garlic croutons
1. Prepare a barbecue for medium-hot grilling. Season the tomato halves, cut side up, with salt and pepper, and spray lightly with olive oil.
2. Place tomatoes cut-side down on the grill, and leave for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened slightly and have grill marks. Transfer tomatoes to a blender.
3. Grill corn and scallions until brown on all sides but not burnt, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let corn cool, and then remove corn kernels from cobs with a sharp knife into a bowl and reserve.
4. Add 1/2 cup reserved corn kernels, the scallions and the garlic to the tomatoes in a blender and puree.
5. Pour into a large bowl. Stir in the anchovy paste and the V-8 juice, and whisk until dissolved. Add the chicken stock, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and whisk until blended. Add cucumbers and basil, and mix well. Add all but 2 tablespoons each of the chopped red and yellow bell peppers and corn, (reserving the 2 tablespoons for garnish), stirring well to blend. Cover the soup bowl, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours. It should be very cold.
6. Just before serving, whisk the sour cream with a cup of the soup mixture in a small bowl until blended. Add to the large bowl of soup, and whisk vigorously. Taste for seasoning.
7. To serve, ladle soup into chilled bowls and garnish with sour cream, reserved chopped bell peppers and corn, diced avocado and chopped basil. Sprinkle with a few croutons, and serve immediately.
Advance Preparation: This dish can be prepared up to one day ahead through Step 3, covered and refrigerated. Adjust the seasonings before serving.
This article is written by Diane Rossen Worthington from Seriously Simple and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.