This is a pretty traditional gazpacho in that it relies heavily on the use of tomatoes and tomato-complimenting flavours like basil and red wine vinegar. Unlike other gazpachos though, you won’t be left with a film of pureed tomato around the bowl after consuming (more likely just tongue prints from having licked the vessel clean). Seriously though, the sieving of this gazpacho means that you’re left with a silky-smooth liquid that is as creamy as coconut milk while simultaneously being as light as consommé. No fibrous, chunky textures here – only refinement and pantone-worthy colour palettes. Plus the little droplets of olive oil that get drizzled on at the end look SO profesh even if you’re a heavy-handed bumbler like me. Seriously, if you want to impress someone while also putting in as little culinary effort as possible (literally just cutting and blending), this is the way to do it.
BA’s Best: Gazpacho
Taken directly from BA’s Best arsenal, with the most minor of tweaks here and there
Serves 4 (makes about ¾ litre)
½ English cucumber, peeled
½ large red bell pepper
2 lb very ripe, mostly red tomatoes, cut into ½-inch wedges, seeds mostly discarded
½ large shallot, chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely grated
2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp flaky sea salt + more for serving
8 basil leaves, stacked, rolled, and shredded into ribbons
3 tbsp good olive oil + more for drizzling
Quartered cherry tomatoes, to garnish
Chopped chives, to garnish
Freshly ground black pepper, to serve
Seed the cucumber by running the tip of a small spoon along the middle of the flesh, scraping the seeds out gently as you go. Cut off about 2 inches of the cucumber and dice finely for garnishing. Coarsely chop the remaining cucumber and set in a large bowl. Cut off about ¼ of the pepper and dice finely for garnishing. Coarsely chop the remaining pepper and add to the bowl with the cucumber along with the tomato wedges, shallot, garlic, vinegar, and salt. Toss and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Transfer the tomato mixture (along with any juices at the bottom of the bowl) to a blender. Add the 3 tbsp olive oil and puree until very smooth, at least 1 full minute. Taste and season with more vinegar or salt if needed. It should taste very well-seasoned as foods tend to lose some flavor when served cold. Strain the gazpacho through a coarse-mesh sieve into a large bowl/pitcher/jar. Push down on the solids to get as much soup through the sieve as possible. Chill the soup for at least 1 hour, though preferably overnight.
Stir/shake soup well before dividing among 4 shallow bowls. Garnish each bowl with cherry tomatoes, reserved cucumber and pepper, basil ribbons, and chives. I found it easier to do the tomatoes first, which then served as a little raft onto which the other garnishes could sit. Gently drizzle some olive oil around the soup, creating a scattering of droplets. Season with freshly ground pepper. Enjoy eating a meal that hasn’t caused you an undue amount of sweating.