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Gazpacho

Fresh tomatoes are perfect for gluten-free Gazpacho.

Fresh tomatoes are perfect for gluten-free Gazpacho.

As a child I struggled to like tomatoes…I tried them plain, salted, and even sprinkled with sugar…UGH, all to no avail. Now, as an adult I adore them. Sometimes I get carried away at the Farmer’s Markets and bring home too many tomatoes. When that happens, I look for ways to use them up in a delicious way.

Gazpacho
One of my favorite ways is to make Gazpacho―a tomato-based soup that is like a liquid salad from the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. It is typically a summertime dish because it is cool and refreshing and needs no cooking. There are many ways to make this delightful dish; I have a very simple version in my vegetarian cookbook, 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes, that I serve as an appetizer in over-size shot glasses.

Here is another version that we use in my weekly online cookbook, www.GfreeCuisine.com that is also extraordinarily tasty. Serve it as appetizers in whatever little dishes you have (such as shot glasses or martini glasses) or as an entrée-size in soup bowls or large wine or margarita glasses. Gazpacho’s flavor improves if it is refrigerated overnight, but chill it for at least 4 hours after making it to let the flavors meld.

Gazpacho from www.GfreeCuisine.com
Used with permission from www.GfreeCuisine.com
My favorite way to serve gazpacho is as a cute little appetizer (see photo), but it makes a great summertime lunch when the weather’s hot and you don’t want to cook.

2 cucumbers, diced
3 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 1/2 cups tomato juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons GF Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (or more to taste)
Juice of 1 lemon
Frank’s hot sauce, to taste
Garnishes: GF croutons, lemon wedges, diced avocado, chopped parsley, and sour cream

[1] In large glass bowl combine vegetables. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Add half the mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth. Combine puree with original mixture. Chill for 4 hours and serve with garnishes of your choice. Serves 4 as lunch; 8 as appetizers.

Variations
There are so many ways to make Gazpacho, but usually it is made from tomatoes. A common method is to use pieces of bread to thicken it. This means we should be careful when ordering Gazpacho in a restaurant. However, I find that using bread isn’t necessary and, in fact, I never use any thickener. If your recipe seems excessively watery, simply reduce the amount of liquid (usually tomato juice) by about 25 percent. After all, it is a soup so it should be liquid!
I rarely see this in recipes, but I like to add a pinch of sugar or agave nectar to tomato-based dishes like this Gazpacho to heighten the flavors and balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Try it and see what you think; you won’t know the sugar’s there.

How to Serve Gazpacho
Garnishes are like the “frosting on the cake.” They make our food look prettier and more enticing. I listed several possible garnishes but—if you don’t want to use them—simply sprinkle a little chopped parsley or a basil leaf on each serving and you’re good to go. For a little protein, I sometimes top the appetizers with cooked little shrimps. Very pretty and tasty!

If you are serving the Gazpacho as an appetizer, you don’t have to worry about what to serve with it. But if it is a main dish, then try serving it with a gluten-free baguette that you baked from one of my cookbooks. Or, toast any of the wonderful gluten-free sandwich breads and top with butter and a dusting of Parmesan cheese. Or, serve it with crispy gluten-free crackers….anything to provide a crunchy contrast.

How to Store Tomatoes
You probably already know that tomatoes should never be refrigerated; keep them at room temperature to preserve their texture and flavor. I recently learned that tomatoes will last longer if stored with the stem-end down which prevents moisture from escaping and mold or bacteria from getting in. I plan to try this tip with fresh peaches and apricots, too, just to see what happens (since they should not be refrigerated either).

 

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