Gazpacho in a Pitcher

From The Rosengarten Report by David Rosengarten. Copyright 2008 by David Rosengarten.

Makes 4 cocktail servings

Ingredients

  • 2 oz.stale Italian or French bread, with crust
  • 1/2 # ripe tomatoes, stems removed
  • 1/4 # sweet onion, such as Walla Walla
  • 1/4 # cucumber
  • 1/4 # green bell pepper
  • 1/4 # red bell pepper
  • 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar de Jerez (Sherry vinegar)
Break the bread into large chunks, place chunks in a bowl, and cover with cold water (about 1 1/2 cups). Soak until the bread is fairly soft, but not mushy, about 1-2 minutes. Squeeze the water out of the bread with your hands, and place bread in a blender. Cut the tomatoes in quarters, and scoop out the seeds with your fingers. Discard seeds. Cut tomatoes in large cubes (you should have about 1 1/2 cups), and add to container. Peel the onion, and cut into large dice (you should have about 1 cup). Add onion to container.  Peel the cucumber and cut in half the long way. Scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon, and discard seeds. Cut cucumber into large dice (you should have about 2/3 cup), and add to container. Remove the stems and seeds from the green bell pepper and the red bell pepper. Cut each into large dice (you should have about 1 cup of diced green pepper, and about 1 cup of diced red pepper). Add cut peppers to the container.  Add olive oil and sherry vinegar. Turn blender on at low speed, then ratchet up to high. Blend on high until the mixture is very smooth and velvety, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, then blend on high for a few seconds more. Pour the gazpacho through a strainer or cone strainer into glasses, or into a pitcher. Push gazpacho through the strainer with a spatula or wooden spoon. But it is important that you do not force through every last drop; leave the last bits of bready sediment behind in the strainer. Discard periodically. Don’t scrape the gazpacho film that’s on the bottom of the strainer into the finished gazpacho; simply clean your strainer under cold running water every few minutes, washing off the gazpacho film into the sink.
There is a fair amount of fiber lost through the straining process, but it is totally worth it, this gazpacho is nothing short of sublime.
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