As this late-summer heat lingers well into the evening, I find myself craving nothing more than a cold bowl of homemade gazpacho for dinner, especially at the end of a long week. Endless variations exist of this "salad in a soup bowl" -- though my favorite uses artichoke hearts in addition to the standard fare, as they add even more health benefits to this delicious concoction.
I vary my recipe when I make up a batch of this soup (because I really don't follow one per se!), and am quick to throw in a piece of fennel or celery if I have them on hand -- but I always start by roasting 4 tomatoes, 3 sweet yellow or orange bell peppers, 1 jalapeno pepper, 1 roughly chopped sweet onion, and 4 garlic cloves in the oven. When everything is lightly golden brown and out of the oven, I sweat the peppers in a plastic bag to make the removing of their peels a snap. Once seeded, I add the peppers, onion, garlic and tomatoes to my Cuisinart bowl and pulsate away, and then add most of a 14.5 oz. can of plum tomatoes with juice. In terms of personal preference, I like my gazpacho chunky (a spoon can nearly stand upright in my bowl), so I don't add any additional tomato or V-8 juice.
However, I do add a third of a cup of julienne sliced sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, one and a half cups of cherry tomatoes, half a cup of pitted Kalamata olives, and a 10-oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts (drained from oil, but not rinsed). I let the machine run at this point and add a quarter of a cup each of extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar. Finally, I seed a hothouse cucumber and add to my work bowl in thick slices, along with salt and pepper to taste and pulsate to the desired consistency.
I serve my chilled soup in bowls garnished with olives and a nice crostini or two, slathered with mashed avocado and perfect for dipping!