We are in full-on summer mode over here. Last week we had a week-long heatwave with the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Switzerland north of the Alps. It reached about 36°C/96.8°F here in St. Gallen and 39°C/102°F in Geneva. This was unbearable considering most of the houses and buildings have no air conditioning.
Easy, no-heat-required meals got us through the week, and you better believe this gazpacho was on the menu. It was the perfect remedy, but even if we weren't in a heat wave, gazpacho would have still turned up in my kitchen this summer. There's nothing better than making a delicious, nutritious soup that perfectly frames the ripest of sun-kissed summer produce and can patiently hang out marinating in the fridge, waiting to be ladled into bowls. The thing I love most about gazpacho is that it can and should be made ahead and is even better the next day. This makes it the perfect accompaniment to last-minute weekday meals or the first course to a casual summer dinner party. Once it cooled down to a reasonable temperature later in the week I made some Manchego toasts to go along with it for the perfect light dinner on a warm evening.
Wishing you all a happy summer full of warm, sunny days, a cool breeze, and nourishing summer eats!
Easy Gazpacho with Manchego Toasts
Notes: I use a lower ratio of tomatoes to cucumber because I prefer the flavor. As a result, this gazpacho does not have the brightest red color one might expect to see.
- 8 medium tomatoes (just shy of 1 kg/2 lbs.)
- 1 long English cucumber (leave skin on if organic)
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 red chili (or 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste)
- Half of small bunch basil (1/3 cup, packed)
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Core and quarter tomatoes and roughly chop cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, and chili.
- Add to a standing blender along with chili, basil, salt, pepper, and vinegar.
- Blend until almost smooth, then add olive oil and blend until completely smooth and oil is emulsified. Taste, adjust for seasoning.
- Transfer the mixture to a large storage bowl and place in the fridge to chill, covered, for at least 2 hours.
- Serve chilled with Manchego toasts, if desired. Gazpacho lasts in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, covered.
Manchego Toasts with Grainy Mustard
- 4-8 slices seedy bread (or your favorite variety)
- Grainy mustard
- 4-8 slices Manchego cheese
- Preheat oven to broil and place slices of bread on a baking sheet.
- Spread a liberal amount of mustard on each slice of bread. Top with Manchego slices and broil for 2-3 minute, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.