The waning days of August have been the hottest days of Maine's truncated summer. A damp, hazy heat has settled over us, making even the thought of firing up the oven or turning on the grill completely without appeal. I spent the week working in Boston's sweltering arms, dreaming of cold soups and salads. On the way home, I stopped at the Farmer's market, grabbed a mess of veggies, the picked up some choice seafood -- for this meal it was lobster from Catch a Piece of Maine.
Nothing says summer to me like chilled Gazpacho, and I've made this tried-and-true recipe for years. The good news is that Gazpacho is pretty hard to mess up. And its veggie laden, tomato based deliciousness is perfect when you'd rather blend than cook. Alone, it is a vegan delight. Topping it with chilled lobster takes it to another level entirely. Here's my version, but don't be afraid to customize it and make a Gazpacho to call your own.
4 - 5 tomatoes, chopped
1 red/yellow/green/orange pepper (your choice) chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 - 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
5 radishes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
4 cups tomato or vegetable juice
4 tbls lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Blend together to desired consistency in blender or food processor, 2 or 3 cups at a time.
Store the blended Gazpacho in a non-metal container in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.
This Glorious Gazpacho can stand on its own any summer day, but adding chilled lobster, shrimp, or scallops makes it an occasion to remember.
Tomorrow I'll post two more cool summer salads. See you then!