Gazpacho (Spanish soup)

  • - 4 to 5 slices stale bread, crust removed
  • - Water
  • - 5 large ripe tomatoes, about 2 pounds
  • - ½ cucumber, peeled, chopped
  • - 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • - 1 green or red pepper, cored, seeded, roughly chopped
  • - 2 green onions, trimmed, roughly chopped, more for garnish
  • - 2 garlic cloves, peeled, roughly chopped
  • - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • - 2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • - Salt and pepper
  • - ½ teaspoon cumin
  • - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional if you like spicy
  • - Pinch sugar
  • - Small handful fresh mint leaves, torn or chopped

    1. Place the bread slices in a bowl with ½ cup of water. Let the bread soak while you work on the tomatoes. Squeeze the bread to ring out any water.

    2. Place the tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water for 40 seconds or so. With a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and let them cool for about a minute or so. When they are cool enough to handle, gently peel the skins off.

    3. In a large food processor or blender, place the tomatoes with the cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, green onions and garlic. Top with the soaked bread. Pour ½ cup extra virgin olive oil and the sherry vinegar. Run the processor for a few seconds then add the salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper (optional) and a pinch of sugar; blend.

    4. Test the gazpacho and if it's too thick, add a little water and blend again until you reach the desired texture.

    5. Transfer to a glass container or large canning jars. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator.

    6. When ready to serve, give the gazpacho a quick stir then transfer to serving bowls or small glasses. Top with olive oil and a garnish of fresh mint, cilantro and chopped green onions, if you like.