It’s the peak of summer. From now until well into fall, it is High Tomato Season and I’ll have a bowl or two of red gazpacho every week. I never tire of gazpacho.
That’s not quite true. Sometimes, sometimes, I just long for another color and a change in flavor. A real change in flavor. I’ll get to white gazpacho soon. Today, we go green. Deep green.
The flavor here is intense with a definite sour bite. Some traditional ingredients are not present here. For example, vinegar. I use the tomatillos instead to introduce sour notes.
The heat content in this soup, and it does have heat, comes from multiple sources: the scallions, the jalapenos, the poblanos, and those tomatillos. My suggested two jalapenos particularly generate fire in the mouth. You might want to go with only one and you can certainly adjust the number of poblanos, too.
The tomatillos present a challenge. Fresh out of the blender, with just a slight chill, this soup is smooth and, of course, quite liquid. But, tomatillos are rich in pectin. That pectin and the bread will result in the soup becoming more like a porridge after a night in the refrigerator. You have options:
- Eat the thick version with relish
- Dilute with water, 2 parts soup to 1 part water, and stir
- For ½ cup of soup, add one teaspoon of red wine vinegar and stir; you get liquefaction and can adjust the relative amount, and flavors, at will
One option I considered, but did not add, was an avocado. It would affect flavor, only a tad given all the heat, and certainly the texture. I found this soup to be perfectly interesting. Adding an avocado or two would have doubled the cost of this soup. At a time when we all look twice at our food costs, my version below is lovely to eat and light on your budget.
Brian’s Green Gazpacho
Yield: 6 servings
- 1-3 tomatillos, husked and washed
- 2 poblanos
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed, then diced
- 10 ounces of seedless grapes, with all stems removed, plus a handful of grapes reserved and halved
- 1 bunch of scallions, ends removed, white and green parts medium diced
- 4 ounces of French/Italian bread ripped into large pieces
- 1-2 jalapenos, halved, seeded and chopped
- ½ bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped
- 6 ounces plain yogurt
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnishes of your choice: those halved grapes, diced tomatoes, onions, sour cream, …
Turn the oven on to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with foil and put the tomatillos on the foil and into the oven. Preheating is not needed. After about 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the tomatillo, they will begin to soften and blacken. Test for softness and remove them. Allow them to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, roast the 2 poblanos over flame until blackened. Put the chilies in a paper bag, wait
Put all the ingredients, except the salt and pepper, in a blender and process until smooth. You may need to stop the blender two or three times and push the contents around. Put the processed soup in a metal bowl. You can taste test now, for salt and pepper, but it is better to wait until the soup has chilled. The tomatillos add exceptional zip so you may find that adding salt is entirely unnecessary — one of the side benefits of tomatillos.
Chill thoroughly. Adjust the salt and pepper if desired.
Garnish, if you wish, with diced tomatoes, onions, sour cream, …
Source: Brian O’Rourke
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4 for 1/25th second at ISO‑3200
How can you drink a peach?
This is the latest agua fresca recipe in this summer’s agua fresca marathon. And it’s a delight. From The Perfect Peach, the key to this successful recipe is the first ingredient: 2 gushy peaches. The authors of The Perfect Peach, the clever Masumoto family, describe peaches in a spectrum of usabilites: hard, firm, with a little give, soft, gushy, bruised and mealy [which is a complicated word for not usable, just toss it].
Peaches with a little give or soft are the ideal ones for most recipes. But gushy, those over ripe ones that may have slight bruising, the ones that you have to eat over the sink, well, the gushy ones are what you want for an agua fresca. They are peach flavor bombs and should never go to waste.
The original recipe, shown below, calls for 4 to 6 cups of water. If you read this blog, then you know I love intensity of flavor. So, when I made this, I used only 2 cups of water. And, it was way too intense, even for me. I compromised, I added a cup of water, and I found 3 cups of water was just peachy. [I’m sorry, but if you think I was not going to use that terrible pun, well, then you don’t know how immature I can be.]
In each instance when you make this, the amount of water actually depends on the gushiness of the peaches and their sheer physical size. So, I would suggest making this agua fresca light on the water side and diluting it as needed with additional water, just as I did.
Peach Agua Fresca
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- 2 gushy peaches, peeled, pitted, and quartered
- ¼ to 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
- 4 to 6 cups water
- Squeeze of fresh lime juice
- Ice cubes, for serving
- Mint sprigs for garnish
Place the peaches, sugar, and water in a blender and process until the sugar has dissolved and the peaches are liquefied. Add the lime juice and process briefly to mix. Serve in tall glasses over ice. Garnish, if you wish, with mint sprigs.
Source: The Perfect Peach by Marcy, Nikiko and David Mas Masumoto
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/30th second at ISO‑2500