Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Spicy Cucumber Gazpacho

When summer produce is at its peak, and the days are wickedly hot, nothing beats gazpacho. Gazpacho is a cold soup that originated in Southern Spain. Originally made with bread, water, vinegar, oil and salt;  fresh, raw vegetables are now the main ingredients.

I make gazpacho all summer and rotate between a recipe featuring tomatoes and today's version with cucumbers in the starring role.  I rarely add bread...but vinegar, oil and salt remain from the ancient tradition. Gazpacho is one of those dishes that can be totally customized to your taste.  If you have never made it before try my recipe first and then change it up depending on what is in season in your area.  The soup's texture is another area where you can tweak to your liking. My version calls for pureeing half the vegetables and keeping the rest diced.  You can puree it all for a smoother soup. Totally to your preference. The only "rule" is to ensure you follow the chilling directions.  The soup improves tremendously after allowing the flavors to meld.  My trick is to make it early in the morning so that when it is time for dinner I just slice some excellent french or sourdough bread, dish up the soup and (maybe put out a few hunks of delicious cheese) dinner is served.

Do you have a favorite gazpacho recipe?  Please share in the comments section of this post.
gazpacho ingredients

Spicy Cucumber Gazpacho
(serves 4-6)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 cucumbers, diced
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 green onions, diced white and green parts (keep 1 tbsp for garnish)
2 jalapenos, minced**
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped
sea salt
black pepper
dried red pepper flakes

Place garlic cloves in blender or food processor and blitz until pulverized.  Add 1/2 of cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, green onion and jalapenos to garlic.  Add 1/2 cup olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, pinch each salt, pepper and red pepper flakes  to vegetables and pulse until liquefied.  Pour into large bowl. Add remaining vegetables, 2 tbsp olive oil and herbs.  Pulse 3-4 times.  You want to just break up the vegetables a bit while keeping some texture.  Pour the vegetables into the bowl with the liquefied ingredients. Stir to combine.  Chill in refrigerator until very cold, 4 hours or more. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.*  serve with a drizzle of best quality extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of green onions and a pinch of fresh herbs on top.

* Don't adjust seasonings until after the soup has chilled.  The ingredients will meld together and the taste will change from the unchilled version.
** Here is where you determine the spiciness factor.  If you like it really hot, do not seed or devein the jalapenos.  If you want a mild version, seed, devein and use only 1 jalapeno.  For in-between, try somewhere in the middle.

Another cucumber recipe you may enjoy:
Cucumber & Chiles Salad

It is "cucumber" week at Food Network's summerfest roundup. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Do you have a favorite cucumber recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one:
Feed Me Phoebe: Fennel Tzatziki with Mint
The Lemon Bowl: Japanese Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Burmese Cucumber Watermelon Composed Salad
Domesticate Me: California Salad with Roasted Chicken and Avocado Dressing
Taste With The Eyes: Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi with Shrimp and Minari
Devour: Cucumber and Mint Lemonade 
Haute Apple Pie: Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spicy Cucumber, Carrot and Onion Refrigerator Pickles
Red or Green: Spicy Cucumber Gazpacho
Virtually Homemade: Cucumber Tomato Bruschetta
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Neer Mor — Zested South Indian Buttermilk with Cucumber
Weelicious: Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches
Blue Apron Blog: Barley Salad with Heirloom Cucumbers & Golden Beets
The Sensitive Epicure: Pimm's Cups and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
FN Dish: Pickles Past the Jar

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  1. Hi Diane, here is a recipe, it's from The Complete book of Chinese Cooking.

    Sweet and Sour Cucumber
    1 Cucumber
    1 tsp.salt
    2 tsp. honey
    2 tbsp. rice vinegar
    3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
    2 tsp. sesame oil
    1/4 tsp. crushed red peppercorns ( we use red chili flakes)
    strips of red and yellow bell pepper tiny think 4mm!

    1.Peel thin strips off the cucumber along the length. This gives a pretty striped effect. Cut cucumber in fourths lengthwise, and then into 1 in. long pieces. Place in a colander.

    2. Sprinkle the salt over the cucumber and leave for 30 min. to allow the salt to draw out excess water. Wash the cucumber thoroughly to remove the salt, (Ed cautions me, he loves the salt , drain, and pat dry w paper towels.

    3. Place the cucumber in a bowl. Combine the honey w the vinegar and pour over. Mix together and leave to marinate for 15 min.

    4.Stir in the cilantro and sesame oil and place in a serving bowl.

    5. Sprinkle over the crushed red peppercorns or chili flakes. Serve w
    strips of red and yellow bell peper.

    People really love it. Tami

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