Heirloom Gazpacho with Basil Oil

Heirloom Gazpacho with Basil Oil
Make extra; it keeps well and is great for a quick meal. It will keep for about one week in the refrigerator.
Serves 6

½ cup crustless bread cubes
½ cup onion, chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
½ cup green pepper, optional chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
½ cup cucumber peeled, seeded and sliced in 1/4 inch pieces
3 pounds red ripe tomatoes, seeded and grated
1 red pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ cup water (optional)

1. Soak bread in cold water for 5 minutes. Remove bread and squeeze to remove any excess water.
2. In a blender add the bread, onions, green pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, red pepper, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Blend until very smooth at high speed for about a minute and a half or longer; depending on the blender.
3. Pour into a large bowl and whisk in the olive oil and vinegar. Add water if too thick and season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Serve in a clear bowl or glass with your choice of garnishes.

Garnishes: onions, scallions, avocado, shrimp, ham (Spanish Serrano), and/or basil oil (see recipe). Use as many garnishes as you like.

Basil Oil
Makes about 1/3 cup

1 bunch (2oz.) of basil leaves only, sliced thin
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt

1. Blanch the basil in boiling water for about 45 seconds. Strain basil and discard water. Place basil in ice water to refresh. When cool drain and squeeze dry.
2. Combine all the ingredients in a small blender or food processor. Keeps for 1 week.

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Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie