Gazpacho al Estilo de Patricia
Lately, in my heat-addled mind, the most satisfying meals can be summed up in two words – cold and simple. Though gazpacho meets both criteria, I’d yet to make it this summer. Looking for a new variation, I tried this popular recipe for gazpacho al estilo de Patricia by Spanish chef José Andrés. Having experimented with pale ajo blanco, deep pink gazpacho with strawberry and fennel, and classic red with tropezones, it was time to go green.
With the clock ticking on heirloom tomatoes, I went looking for green zebras in a kind of panic (false alarm – there are plenty left). For the garnish (and more color), I found earthy, black prince tomatoes leaning towards purple. The rest of the ingredients – cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, pearl onions, garlic and chives – were also at hand, so it was final chance take full advantage of the farmer’s market.
After setting it all out at home, I realized this gazpacho would be easier than most. There were no almonds to crush or day old bread to process. Most of the work went into prepping the ingredients then adding them to the blender in turn. It wasn’t until I got to the end that I noticed just how precise the directions for the garnishes were – oil for the onions, vinegar for the cucumbers, and an exact count for the croutons (from quickly fried bread). I wasn’t so careful. Once I had the bowls in front of me, I couldn’t stop playing with the toppings, seeing how long they could keep their balance on the chilled gazpacho – a perfect way to see out a fast fleeting summer.
Gazpacho al Estilo de Patricia/Patricia’s Gazpacho
Barely adapted from Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America by José Andrés with Richard Wolffe.
For the gazpacho:
2 pounds ripe green, yellow or plum tomatoes (about 10), ends trimmed and cut into chunks
8 ounces cucumber (1 cucumber), peeled and cut into chunks
3 ounces green bell pepper, seeded and cut in large pieces
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar plus more to taste
1/2 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
For the garnishes:
1 tablespoon Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
1 slice rustic white bread
6 plum tomatoes
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into cubes
4 pearl onions, pulled apart into segments
2 tablespoons Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
4 chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
In a blender, combine the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, garlic, and sherry vinegar. Blend until it forms a thick liquid. Taste for acidity and add more vinegar for balance. Add the olive oil and salt to taste and blend again. Strain the gazpacho into a pitcher and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 30 minutes.
While the gazpacho chills, prepare the garnishes. In a small pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the slice of bread fry until golden on both sides. Remove from heat and cut into cubes.
Slice the end of each plum tomato. Using a small serrated knife, peel the tomatoes top to bottom with a small sawing motion. Discard the skins, core and seeds. Dice the tomatoes and set aside.
To serve, pour the gazpacho into bowls. Divide the croutons, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion segments between the bowls. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil on the onions and add a few drops of vinegar to the cucumbers. Sprinkle the tomatoes with sea salt and garnish each bowl with chives. Serve when the gazpacho chilled.
Makes 4 servings.