Really, I feel kind of stupid even presuming to write this post.
Because this tomato-strawberry gazpacho is mind numblingly simple to prepare. There’s certainly nothing involved that could properly be termed “cooking.” There’s hardly even any chopping, unless you wanna.
This post could alternatively be titled “Throw Some Red Shit in a Blender and Whiz it Up,” because that’s all I did. Okay, maybe my dedication to monochromatic eating is not absolute; I did toss in a green jalapeño for heat. If I’d really cared, I suppose I’d have sought out a red chile pepper.
That’s the key to being a low-grade blogging success: simple recipes a monkey could have both invented and prepared that you don’t really care about. I mean, you don’t care about the recipes. The monkey, you cherish.
Anyway, what I did was, I threw some red shit in a blender and whizzed it up. A pound of ripe strawberries, a pound of ripe tomatoes, a chile (ribs and seeds intact), a glug of olive oil, a glug of white balsamic (I’m telling you, good stuff) and some salt.
To make the endeavor look more chefferly, I strained the resulting liquid to get an ultra-fine soup.*
*Okay, fine, I actually did it because I was too lazy to de-seed the tomatoes but then decided I wanted the seeds out. Yes, it probably would have been faster to de-seed the tomatoes at the outset. No, I don’t care.
Since strained tomato water never nourished anyone for a meaningful length of time, I pondered additions. I actually like a crunchy gazpacho, so I diced up a red bell pepper, a cucumber and some red onion.
(If you don’t care about texture, you could just as easily chuck the auxiliary vegetables into the blender with the red shit. Ten bucks says it will taste just as good.)
I also wanted some protein to make this a full meal, so I seasoned some shrimp simply with salt, pepper and cayenne and seared them off in a cast-iron pan, thinking that the temperature contrast of the hot shrimp and cold soup (which had been chilling for a few hours by this time) might be kinda fun.
Once the shrimp were done, I plated up; I toyed with perching the shrimp around the edge of the bowl, but quickly came to the realization that I can’t pull crap like that off. So I dumped everything into the bowl, which seemed appropros given the total amount of effort that had gone into the meal.
This gazpacho? She is going to be consumed a great deal in the hotter months, I predict. A mouthful is everything at once: cool, spicy, crispy, crunchy, slighly sweet, refreshing. Not too tomato-y and not to strawberry-y, the heat of the chile slowly builds as you eat. And I was right, the juxtaposition in temperatures was a nice additional layer to all the flavors going on.
Well played, blender. Well played.
adapted from Patricia Wells’ Vegetable Harvest
1 lb. ripe strawberries, hulled
1 lb. ripe tomatoes, seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 jalapeño, roughly chopped (remove the ribs and seeds if you don’t like much heat)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. white balsamic vingear
salt (to taste)
1/4 c. veg stock (if needed)
1 red bell pepper
1 small cucumber
1/2 a red onion
Chuck the strawberries, tomatoes, jalapeño, olive oil, balsamic and some salt into a blender, and puree until smooth. If you need a little help getting the blending started, add a little veggie stock to lubricate things. Check the seasoning and adjust as needed. Chill the puree for at least an hour.
Dice the bell pepper, cucumber and red onion into equal-size pieces about the size of corn kernels.
To serve, ladle the chilled soup into bowls and top with a quarter-cup of the diced veg and a little drizzle of olive oil. Serves 4.