Creamy Gazpacho

Adding bread to a cold soup may seem weird, but it's traditional and it works. Another secret—the flavor of tomatoes is amped up if you salt them ahead of time—it's a magic molecular thing. I do it whenever I use raw tomatoes.

  • 3 pounds (about 6 medium) tomatoes
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled if necessary
  • 1 medium bell pepper of any color, halved and cored
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 1 hot pepper, halved and cored if desired
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 3 slices of day-old bread, crusts removed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of vinegar, sherry vinegar is good
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Minced fresh herbs: parsley, basil, chives, tarragon, etc.

Roughly chop the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and onion and place in large bowl with the garlic, hot pepper and 1½ teaspoons salt. Toss until well combined. Set aside for 30 minutes, if possible, to develop amazing flavors.

Add bread, torn into small pieces. Using a stick or countertop blender, purée mixture until smooth. With blender running, slowly drizzle in oil and continue to blend until completely emulsified, about 2 minutes. 

Stir vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill. Serve, topped with minced herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.

4 to 6 servings