This is the perfect time of year to make the Spanish specialty of gazpacho, the refreshing chilled tomato based soup made with raw summer vegetables. There are many variations of gazpacho from smooth to chunky, mild to spicy and using different vegetables. How I would love to have a garden to raid for the tastiest ingredients – tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, green onions and herbs. Failing that, the next best thing would be to shop at a farmers or local market. Fresh ingredients are key to this soup since it is not cooked.
Gazpacho takes a bit of effort and time to prepare due to chopping the vegetables and the couple of hours to properly chill it. If you plan on making the smooth version, the vegetables are rough chopped then processed in a food processor before adding the tomato juice (or in a blender, adding just enough tomato juice to properly blend the ingredients). For a chunky version, chop all vegetables to approximately the same size dice depending on your preference. Or you can process some of the vegetables and blend them with the chopped ones. I prefer the soup to have the finely chopped texture and a little bit of spice.
Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp
125 mL (½ cup) finely diced red or yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green or yellow pepper, finely diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
2 tomatoes, finely diced
2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
5 mL (1 tsp) honey
Juice of ½ lemon
Juice of 1 lime
15 mL (1 Tbsp) fresh basil, chopped
2.5 mL (½ tsp) ground cumin
60 mL (¼ cup) chopped parsley
30 mL (2 Tbsp) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper and cayenne, to taste
1 L (4 cups) tomato juice
Combine all gazpacho ingredients in a large bowl or glass pitcher and chill well.
16-18 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice of 1 lime
15 mL (1 Tbsp) olive oil
15 mL (1 Tbsp) chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp chile powder
Whisk together limejuice and oil. Mix in cilantro, garlic and chile powder. Thread shrimp on skewers (to facilitate turning during grilling), place on platter; cover with marinade and let sit for at least ½ hour. Grill over medium coals until shrimp are opaque, about one minute per side.
To serve: Ladle gazpacho into individual bowls and top with 3-4 of the grilled shrimp.