Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Classic Andalusian Gazpacho

• 1 (2-inch-long) piece baguette, crust discarded
• 2 garlic cloves
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar (preferably "reserva"), or to taste
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
• 2 1/2 lb ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
• 1/2 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Andalusian hojiblanca)
• Garnish: finely chopped red and green bell peppers
To Prepare:
• Soak bread in 1/2 cup water 1 minute, then squeeze dry, discarding soaking water.
• Mash garlic to a paste with salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash with a large knife). Blend garlic paste, bread, 2 tablespoons vinegar, sugar, cumin, and half of tomatoes in a food processor until tomatoes are very finely chopped. Add remaining tomatoes with motor running and, when very finely chopped, gradually add oil in a slow stream, blending until as smooth as possible, about 1 minute.
• Force soup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing firmly on solids. Discard solids.
• Transfer to a glass container and chill, covered, until cold, about 3 hours. Season with salt and vinegar before serving.

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