I am a gazpacho fanatic. Years ago, when I lived in Madrid, my Spanish mother-in-law taught me how to make the most basic of gazpacho recipes: tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil, vinegar, salt, garlic; purée. Period. As soon as tomatoes were in season, when I moved back to southern NJ, I would make it every day. Eventually though, I got brave and started to venture into the wide open world of cold soups. I would make green gazpachos, blueberry gazpachos, watermelon, and so on.
One of my current favorite cold soups, newly discovered from one of my travels back to Spain is something called salmorejo. Salmorejo is made almost identical to traditional gazpacho, only you add soaked bread, which thickens the soup, giving it an almost creamy, dairy-like consistency without one drop of dairy. Also, you top with crumbled boiled egg and pieces of cured ham (in Spain, they use jamon Serrano).
The recipe that I’d like to share with you this week is a green gazpacho, thickened with soaked bread. So, technically, it’s a green salmorejo, or salmorejo verde. It’s perfect for a light lunch, or for a first course at a dinner party. And two important things to note: it’s super heart healthy, and, no one will know that you didn’t slave over this super easy recipe!
Cucumber, Lime, Basil Salmorejo Verde
3 cups white French baguette (day old is best!), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups water, more if needed
3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped into chunks (two long seedless English cucumbers and one/half fresh Jersey cucumber if you happen to be lucky enough to be in NJ!)
About a ¼ cup chopped scallions
2 teaspoons sliced almonds
2 cloves garlic
2 cups seedless green grapes, washed
1/2 cup Spanish olive oil (or Italian)
2 teaspoons salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
Juice of 1-2 limes (depending on taste)
About 5-8 big leaves of basil
½ tsp Basil oil, per serving
¼ hard boiled egg, per serving
1 oz deli-style ham, Spanish Jamon Serrano or Italian Prosciutto, per serving
In a big bowl, set aside 3 cups of the baguette cubes with the vinegar. Add the water; let sit for 5 minutes or longer.
In a blender, combine the cucumbers, onions, almonds, garlic, grapes, lime juice and basil. Add the soaked bread, the 1/2 cup olive oil, and the salt and pepper. To give it an extra bite, add about a tablespoon garlic powder. Purée until smooth. Put the soup in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes, or longer. When ready to serve, garnish lightly with a thinly sliced or diced cured ham. The Spanish Jamon Serrano or Italian Prosciutto is best, and about a ¼ of a diced hardboiled egg. Drizzle basil oil on top.
- Note on Garnishes:
If you want to play around with this recipe, try other garnishes! Lump crab or grilled shrimp would make it more of a solid meal, versus a first course. Or try sweet corn, spiraled zucchini, diced peach, a few blueberries or alfalfa spouts, all of which will add vibrant color, texture and taste.
Tags: #gazpacho, #hearthealthy, #recipe, #dinnerparty, #greengazpacho