This is the first time I made and have eaten gazpacho. It always reminds me of the guy that one of my best friends dated many years ago. The guy, a French Canadian, prepared an elaborate dinner for my friend in his well-appointed house (he did all the interior decoration) in Makati. The first course was gazpacho that he made earlier in the day and was chilling in the refrigerator for over 4 hours. When the time came to transfer the gazpacho in a soup tureen, the bowl slipped from his hands and left a pool of tomato/cucumber soup on the flour and soaked his Italian loafers. According to my friend he was upset the whole night over the spilt gazpacho. She later fell asleep on the couch while watching a boring artsy French film. Good thing my friend did not end up with him because he turned out to have plenty of issues and perhaps a questionable sexual orientation.;-)
Anyways, back to dinner. I fell in love with this refreshing cold soup that pairs very well with the asparagus and chicken sandwich. We used to have this sandwich in the house of the friend mentioned above. They were prepared by their cook who used canned asparagus instead of fresh which is also very good although a bit mushy and she sliced them into thin fingers. They were really tasty, light, and different and have become one of our favorite sandwiches.
1½ pounds tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 slices day-old baguette, crusts removed, soaked in water and squeezed out
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
garlic croutons, chopped tomatoes, and chopped cucumbers
- In a food processor combine all the ingredients except garnish and process until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing down hard to extract all the liquid. Taste and adjust seasoning. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- To serve, pour soup into bowls and pass the garnishes separately.
store-bought or leftover roasted chicken breasts, cut into strips
steamed asparagus, cut into 3 -4 inch pieces
watercress, torn spinach
whole wheat pitas or sliced bread
1 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzos)
3 T fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
1½ T tahini
1 tsp salt
extra virgin olive oil
for garnish: chopped flat leaf parsley, paprika, or cayenne, optional
- Drain chickpeas, reserve ¼ C of liquid. Place all ingredients except olive oil and garnish in a blender, add the reserved liquid and blend on low speed until smooth. Transfer into a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour olive oil in the well. Serve with pita triangles.