Friday, June 15, 2012

Gazpacho of Green Vegetables

Inspired by the market: Gazpacho of Green Vegetables

Everything for this recipe came from this past Saturday’s trip to the local farmer’s market. There were cucumbers, zucchini, onions, and basil. I had garlic scapes leftover from last week’s trip. This was pretty much improvised based on my experience of making gazpacho but since tomatoes aren’t yet in season I chose a few green vegetables and treated them in the style of gazpacho- raw, pureed and spiked with vinegar and olive oil.

When you shop at a farmer’s market, you can’t weigh the produce you pick, so be flexible. Your amounts needn’t be exactly the same as mine. I included them only because most people expect to see measurements given in a recipe. Follow the basic outline, taste and adjust the seasonings as you go.

If you don’t have garlic scapes, use garlic. If you don’t like a strong, raw garlic flavor, sauté the garlic in a little olive oil first. If you don’t want a strong onion flavor, put the chopped onions into a strainer and rinse them under cold water.

When tomatoes arrive, I’ll pass on a more traditional-style tomato-based gazpacho recipe.

Green Vegetable Gazpacho                                
Makes about 6 cups soup

2  cucumbers, one peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced into 1” pieces
Leave the skin on the second cucumber, slice it lengthwise, remove the seeds and cut into 1” pieces; this
will make about 2 cups cucumber
2 cups zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1” pieces
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic scapes (or 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic)
½ cup diced onion
14 to 16 leaves fresh basil
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
1½ cups water (1 cup to puree the peeled cucumber, ½ cup for the other vegetables)
¼ cup red wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place the peeled cucumber and 1 cup  water into a blender; puree until smooth. Pour this into a bowl and set aside. Place all of the remaining ingredients into the blender (or a food processor) and puree until smooth; don’t expect a completely smooth consistency. If necessary, you can process the soup in batches. Pour the contents of the blender into the bowl with the pureed cucumber and stir together. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer the soup to a container and chill. Taste again before serving. Serve the soup very cold.

The soup can be garnished in many ways. Use croutons, or some crab meat or cooked chopped shrimp. Swirl a little extra virgin olive oil over the soup, or garnish with chopped basil leaves, or some diced cucumber. Top with some crème fraiche, sour cream or perhaps a little quark.  You get the idea; there is no correct way.

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