Chilled Gazpacho

“Cold soup is a very tricky thing and it is the rare hostess who can carry it off. More often than not the dinner guest is left with the impression that had he only come a little earlier he could have gotten it while it was still hot.”
Fran Lebowitz, journalist

The cooking club is featuring Curtis Stone once again and we often, like many have “TV” dinner to catch up on a few shows that we like or better yet, a cup of cool gazpacho and cocktails on the front or back porch.  Curtis’ recipe is not unlike many of mine and I have taken a few liberties as usual adding in a few other ingredients that I like in gazpacho.  Special occasions call for baby grilled shrimp, chunks of lobster, or lump crab meat as a garnish…Mike isn’t crazy about “cold soup” as he calls it, but toss in a few shrimp or some crab meat and he might ask for seconds or better yet add lots of shrimp or crab.Gazpacho I like to make gazpacho a day ahead and evidently, this recipe is also a good make-ahead version, perfect for entertaining and consider small portions like shots for a nice pre-dinner appetizer as I do around holiday time.

Look below for Curtis’ adapted recipe and a link to his original.

Chilled Gazpacho adapted of course

2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 6), roughly chopped
1 cup chicken  or vegetable stock
1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable juice ( I like the V-8 spicy version)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar and a last-minute splash of balsamic vinegar
a couple grates of lemon zest and juice of 1/2 lime
chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
One 5-inch piece French baguette bread, crust removed (this thickens the gazpacho)
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, bruised
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
pinches of smoked paprika or chili powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Final additions to the blended soup:
Fresh chopped cilantro
chopped chives or green onions
1/2 cup finely diced peeled seeded cucumber
1/4 cup finely diced seeded red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced seeded yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced seeded tomato
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Consider additions of cooked or grilled baby or small shrimp, lump crab meat, or chunks of lobster

In a large bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
Transfer the marinated ingredients to a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Refrigerate the soup until it is very cold. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle the chilled soup into chilled bowls and garnish with the finely diced cucumbers, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.