Note: Use only the ripest tomatoes. Don't use a bread that's too flavorful (no sourdough, for example) or rough. You want it to soften and blend into the soup completely. You can serve the soup as is with a drizzle of olive oil, sherry vinegar, and a sprinkle of chives and ground black pepper, or you can add a few diced vegetables back to the smooth base for texture.
- Yield:makes 6 servings
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:2 hours (at least)
- 3 pounds (about 4 large) very ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 pound (about 1 small) cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
- 1/3 pound (about 1 small) small red onion, peeled and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
- 1/3 pound (about 1 medium) green or red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 4 ounces (about 2 slices) white sandwich, French, or Italian bread, crusts removed, torn into rough 1-inch pieces (see note)
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons finely minced chives
- Freshly ground black pepper
Combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, pepper, garlic, and salt in a large bowl and toss to coat thoroughly. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Drain juices into a large bowl and add the bread. Transfer the drained vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet and place in freezer until vegetables are frozen, about 30 minute.
Remove vegetables from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature until mostly thawed, about 30 minutes. Transfer vegetables and all their juices from the pan to bowl with soaked bread.
Working in two batches as necessary, blend vegetables, juice, and bread at high speed, slowly drizzling olive oil and sherry vinegar into blender as it blends. Strain soup through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve, drizzling each bowl with olive oil, a few sprinkles of sherry vinegar, extra cracked black pepper, and chives. Gazpacho can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.