Mmmm... Gazpacho

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Photo: Glenn Koenig / LA Times

Russ Parsons is the food editor for The Los Angeles Times.  Classic gazpacho is made by blending bread, olive oil, tomatoes, and garlic.  Russ likes to add cucumbers.

Andalusian Garden Gazpacho

4 slices bread, crusts removed (4 ounces), plus 2 slices bread, diced and fried in a little olive oil (for garnish), divided
11/2 cups cold water, plus extra to soak the bread, divided
5 tomatoes (about 2 pounds), plus 1 small tomato, finely chopped (for garnish), divided
2 cloves garlic
Small piece of green bell pepper, plus extra finely chopped green pepper (for garnish), divided
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsps salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped, for garnish
1 small white onion, finely chopped, for garnish

1. Break the 4 slices crustless bread into chunks and soak it in water to cover until softened.

2. Remove cores from the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into chunks and puree in a blender or food processor. Press the juice and pulp through a sieve, discarding the bits of skin and seeds.

3. Squeeze the water from the bread and place it in a blender or food processor with the garlic. Blend until smooth.

4. Add the tomato pulp, green pepper, cumin and salt. With the blender running, add the oil in a slow stream. Blend in the vinegar and some of the 11/2 cups cold water.

5. Place the gazpacho in a pitcher and add the remaining water. This makes about 41/2 cups gazpacho. Serve immediately or chill until serving time.

6. To serve, pour the gazpacho into individual bowls. Place each of the garnishes (finely chopped green pepper, cucumber, onion, tomato and crisp bread) in small bowls. Pass the garnishes with the gazpacho and allow guests to serve themselves.


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