I like my gazpacho chunky and spicy, with a strong hit of Meyer lemon juice. I’ve been working on my recipe for years, tweaking it here and there. It remains my absolute favorite chilled soup for warm weather. It is supposed to hit 90 degrees today, so I made a batch this morning – with a new twist.
When we were in Palm Springs last month, our friends took us to a terrific restaurant, Spencer’s, where we dined outside in a lovely, tree-covered patio. The spring weather was delightful and the food was very, very good. Susan and I chose the gazpacho for a starter, and it came with a small mound of succulent lobster. Snazzy, yes?
Spencer’s inspired me to ramp up my gazpacho recipe. I added fresh shrimp, lobster being a bit over budget. Adding protein turns this soup into a more substantial dish. You can add as few or as many shrimp as you choose. The gazpacho keeps well in the fridge for about a week, but I suggest you add the shrimp only when you serve the soup.
Play with your hot sauce until you get the amount of heat that tickles your palate. At our house, I only add it to my bowl, since Larry chokes on spicy stuff. I also find that the lemon juice is tangy enough for me to hide the salt shaker, but suit yourself.
TIP: Local tomatoes are nowhere near in season here, but any good tomato works. I love to play with heirloom varieties, but will wait a couple months for those beauties. As always, I prefer to use all organic vegetables.
- 4 large tomatoes, cored and cut into large chunks
- 1 yellow, 1 red and 1 orange bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into large chunks
- 1 large red onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 English or hothouse cucumber, seeded and cut into large chunks
- 4 cloves of peeled garlic
- ½ cup fresh dill or basil, roughly chopped
- 1 46-ounce jar of low sodium vegetable juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup Meyer lemon juice (2 lemons or 1 large)
- Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste
- Cooked shrimp, halved horizontally
- Dill sprig (optional garnish)
- Using a food processor, first chop the tomatoes and add to a large, non-reactive bowl. Next, chop the peppers, then the cucumber, then the onion, adding each vegetable to the same large bowl. I like the veggies finely chopped, not puréed.
- Chop the garlic and dill in the processor and add to bowl.
- Pour in the vegetable juice and stir to combine.
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice and hot sauce. Stir and chill several hours before serving.
- Add shrimp and dill garnish to each individual bowl when serving.