Friday, July 9, 2010
I have a confession. Last week I almost drowned Anothony Bourdain. I know what you're thinking: what'd he do to deserve that? The answer: nothing. It was an accident. I was running a bath and was taking Kitchen Confidential with me, a book I've wanted to read for years, and I knocked it in the water. It's finally dry, but it's a wrinkled mess - I am devouring it page by page regardless. I can just hear Bourdain's voice in my head as I read. I'm getting through it quickly, so I need your help. What other foodie books should I be reading? Leave your favorites and I'll start a list. Let me know what you like and why.
Now on to the gazpacho. For my last birthday, my husband gave me a copy of 1080 Recipes. It was proudly placed on the shelf next to Phaidon's other pubs: the Silver Spoon and Vefa's Kitchen. And I hadn't used it until now. This gazpacho is Spanish-style. It's thicker than the stuff you typically see here, but it's exactly what I loved as we travelled through Spain last fall. If you've got a bumper crop of tomatoes overtaking your yard or, like me, just buy too much at the farmer's market, this is a great use of ripe tomatoes. For a light lunch or as a first course, it's cool and refreshing on a hot summer day... and olive coated goat cheese balls add a little something special. (They're purely optional, but what a yummy option to have!)
Farmer's Market Gazpacho
adapted from 1080 Recipes by Simone and Ines Ortega
4-6 large ripe tomatoes, seeded, cored and coarsely chopped (I used 4 beefsteak, 6 vine-ripiened would be about the same amount)
1/4 onion, coarsely chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 small green pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar (use white wine vinegar if you don't have sherry)
For the goat cheese balls (optional)
2 oz. fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup pitted black olives (such as kalamata) finely chopped
Working in batches as needed, combine the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, green pepper, breadcrumbs, oil and vinegar in a blender and puree. Add salt to taste. (NOTE: taste it and add more vegetables if you prefer more flavor of one of the vegetables. You can also add some water if it's too thick, but this should be a thick gazpacho).
Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To make the goat cheese balls, using your hands, roll piece of goat cheese into small balls and then roll each in the chopped olives to coat.
To serve, garnish the soup with the goat cheese balls.