On Fridays, Joshua Bousel drops by with a recipe for you to grill over the weekend. Fire it up, Joshua!
The extreme heat and humidity we have going on here in New York hasn't exactly left me with a desire to stand next to a 500-degree grill. That is until I came across this recipe for a grilled gazpacho. The thought of sweating it out over the flames with the reward of a cold summer soup at the end was very enticing.
So it went, I grilled almost every ingredient in the soup: green onions, garlic, onion, red and green peppers, and tomatoes. Then they all got a spin in the blender along with a cucumber, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, followed by a chill in the fridge. After the hour defined in the recipe as the minimum resting period, I was in need of relief from the heat and served myself a large bowl.
The soup was robust, deep with the flavors of the grilled vegetables, with the distinct underlying coolness of the cucumber. The only problem was that an hour was long enough to cool the soup but not make it truly cold. So it was a triumph of flavor but didn't quite deliver the refreshing factor, although I bet that will change when, after another hot walk home tomorrow, I have another serving of a now, fully chilled gazpacho.
Adapted from Steven Raichlen.
- 4 scallions
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 1-inch thick slices of country style white bread or French bread
- 5 vine-ripened tomatoes (about 2-1/2 pounds)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 cucumber, peeled
- 1/4 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs (including basil, oregano, tarragon, and/or flatleaf parsley)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or to taste)
- 1/2 to 1 cup cold water, or as needed
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes prior to using
Finely chop the scallion greens and set aside for garnish. Skewer the scallion whites on bamboo skewers or toothpicks. Skewer the garlic cloves and onion quarters the same way. Lightly brush the scallion whites, garlic, and onion quarters with olive oil.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly over the charcoal grate. Place scallions, garlic, onion, tomatoes, bread, and peppers on the grill. Grill scallions, garlic, onions, and bread until nicely browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Grill the tomatoes and bell peppers until charred, about 2 minutes per side for the tomatoes and 4 minutes per side for the peppers. Transfer to a plate to cool. Scrape the charred skins off the tomatoes and peppers with a paring knife. (Don't worry about removing every last bit.) Core and seed the peppers.
Peel the garlic and place them in a blender along with the scallion whites, onions, toast, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, herbs, vinegar, and remaining olive oil and puree until smooth. Thin the gazpacho to pourable consistency with water if needed and season with salt and pepper.
Place the gazpacho in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour, preferably until very cold. Just before serving, correct the seasoning, adding salt or vinegar to taste. To serve, ladle the gazpacho into bowls and sprinkle with the chopped scallion greens.