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Dinner Tonight: Alice Waters' Gazpacho

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

Gazpacho is all over the place in summertime. It's the iconic chilled summer soup; refreshing and acidic and featuring the almighty tomato at its seasonal peak. Many non-traditional ingredients find their way into modern recipes, though, such as avocado or watermelon, and many depend on tomato juice. These are delicious in their own way (including a recipe already covered in this column). However, the original recipe from Spain is pretty simple, featuring olive oil, tomatoes, bread, garlic, and garnishes.

The bread is what's usually missing from recipes. It thickens the soup and make use of what would otherwise be stale. In Alice Waters' recipe in The Art of Simple Food, she soaks it briefly in water, then mashes it with garlic into a paste along with a soaked dried ancho chile to give a tickle of heat. Though the last step is not all that authentic, it's a brilliant move, and my favorite part about this recipe. The rest of the soup is pretty much summer incarnate--what Waters calls "a liquid salad."

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels.

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