I adore soup, and not only in the winter! I make so many different varieties of chilled summer soups – from Zucchini Vichyssoise, to carrot soup, to cucumber and yogurt soup – but the King of all summer soups has to be Gazpacho. And it’s my favourite, too – not only because the leftovers make a killer Bloody Mary. (Just add 2 ounces of vodka to a tall glass and pour in the soup. Then garnish with any of your favourite Bloody Mary accoutrements!)
This gazpacho is so fresh with a hint of spice – I like to give it a Greek twist with some salty, crumbled feta and a little wild oregano. The cool feta perfectly tempers the acidity from the tomatoes and the spiciness from the jalapeño and garlic. The best part is that, aside from blanching and peeling the tomatoes, which is quite easy, it comes together entirely in the blender so it’s absolutely effortless on those hottest summer afternoons. The ones when even just the thought of turning on the stove makes me want to lounge in the shade with an ice cold glass of sangria! This week the temperatures here in Colorado are sweltering! The forecast has them reaching into the triple digits (100.5F / 38C) by the end of the week. I can tell you for sure, this summer Gazpacho will be playing on repeat all week long.
Gazpacho with Feta and Oregano
- 1.5 pounds ripe tomatoes (4 – 5 medium tomatoes)
- 1/2 large, English cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 red onion, chopped
- 1/2 – 1 Jalapeño pepper (depending on taste), seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5.5 oz. tomato juice
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
- 1/2 – 1 tsp salt (to taste)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- feta cheese, crumbled
- fresh oregano
Start by blanching and peeling the tomatoes. Bring a pot of water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water.
Cut an “X” in the bottom of each tomato. Carefully place the tomatoes in the boiling water. Simmer for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon remove the tomatoes and immediately place into the ice water. Let sit until cool. When the tomatoes are cool, the skins will peel off easily.
Peel the tomatoes and cut into quarters. Place a sieve over your blender jar. With a spoon or your fingers, scrape the tomato seeds into the sieve. Use a spoon to press the seeds and pulp in the sieve, straining the juice into the blender. Discard the seeds.
To the blender add the quartered tomatoes, chopped cucumber, bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic and onion. Pour in the tomato juice and process until smooth. Add the vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt if needed.
Cover the blender jar and place the gazpacho in the fridge for at least an hour or until completely chilled.
When ready to serve, quickly blend the gazpacho once more to be sure it’s well mixed. Pour the gazpacho directly into serving bowls. Top each bowl with crumbled feta, a bit of oregano, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.