Killer Gazpacho. No Recipe. You're Welcome.
Here at Food52, we love recipes — but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don’t always need a recipe, you’ll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.
Today: Turn stale bread and rogue produce into a cool, refreshing gazpacho — all without a recipe.
Remember that time about, oh, six months ago, when we all waxed poetic about balmy June days and lingering August nights from beneath our winter coats? It’s true — summer came not a day too soon. But perhaps we all need a reminder of its early thrills now that it’s hot enough that we’re tempted to forgo simply adorned tomatoes and corn in favor of ice pops for dinner. When you’re throwing open the refrigerator door purely for the blast of frigid air it gives you — when the thought of food feels heavy and sticky — gazpacho will be your relief.
Nowadays, gazpacho conjures up bright splashy reds and raw crispness; of being so deep in the throes of summer that you’re delighted, not pained, to unload your tomato surplus into a blender. But gazpacho was born a peasant food, cobbled together of little more than stale bread, olive oil, and garlic. That triumvirate proved to be a solid foundation for the boatloads of vegetables (and fruit) that joined the party later, a stomping ground for just about any produce under the (sweltering) sun.
Best of all, you need little more than rudimentary blender proficiency — no, not even a recipe — to make a five-star gazpacho. Here’s how to do it.
How to Make Gazpacho Without a Recipe
1. Gather the troops. For tomato gazpacho, you’ll want about 6 cups of chopped tomatoes. Just as important are the supporting actors: cucumber, bell pepper, and red onion. Go for about one of each (or less onion, if it’s a big one). Next, of course, is the garlic, of which you should add at least 2 cloves but feel no need to stop there. Two thick slices of stale bread give the soup body and provide taxonomic distinction from salsa.
Look further and you’ll see an unkempt summer garden’s worth of possibilities. A good rule of thumb: If the vegetables pair well in a salad, they’ll probably pair well here. Another one: When in doubt, color-coordinate. Whiz zucchini with basil, summer squash with corn, watermelon or strawberries with red bell pepper. Toss in a jalapeño or habañero wherever you’d like heat, a good squeeze of lemon or lime where you want acidity, and a half or whole avocado where you want creaminess. Fresh herbs are a magnificent idea.