Few soups are simpler than this summer classic, but here I make it slightly more complicated by giving the vegetables a quick turn over a smoky fire to lightly flavor them, not cook them. Although I like raw bell peppers on their own or as crudités, I think they can be a bit of a flavor bully in this soup. For that reason, find the sweetest red or yellow bell pepper you can. By no means should you use a green bell pepper for this.–Barton Seaver
LC Still Quick Note
Okay, so this recipe adds another step that most gazpachos lack. It’s still quick. And well worth every extra second it takes.
Special Equipment: Strong-flavored wood chips, such as hickory or maple
Smoky Gazpacho Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 20 M
- Serves 6 to 8
- 1 pound ripe heirloom tomatoes (look for sweet, juicy varieties like Brandywine or Cherokee Purple), cored and quartered
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
- 1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt
- 1. Place the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, and garlic on a small baking sheet and set it on the grill adjacent to the coals of a small fire. Add some strong-flavored wood chips, such as hickory or maple, and cover the grill. Smoke the vegetables for 3 to 5 minutes, just long enough to barely flavor the ingredients.
- 2. Place the tomato wedges in a blender and use a spoon to lightly crush them to release some of their juices. (This will provide the necessary liquid to purée the other ingredients.) Add the other vegetables, along with the oil and vinegar, and season generously with salt. Purée until all the vegetables have broken down and the soup has a smooth consistency. You should have about 2 quarts. You may need to add a little water, depending on the moisture content of the vegetables. If so, do this just a few spoonfuls at a time. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- 3. I am conflicted on chilling this soup, as I think it can numb the flavors, but it does offer a welcome refreshing quality. So go with what you prefer, room temperature or chilled.
- 4. Divide the soup among bowls and, if desired, drizzle with more oil.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:
Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Jul 22, 2013
If the coals are still hot after grilling dinner, by all means throw on a disposable foil tray of vegetables for gazpacho. (Trust me, scrubbing the smoky residue off a quarter sheet pan is not fun.) I let the vegetables come back to room temperature before blending them. Speaking of blending, whiz a couple tomato wedges first just to get the whole thing going, especially if you’re not working with a high-powered blender. After liquefying the tomatoes, I blended in each vegetable, 1 at a time, finishing with the oil, vinegar, and salt. I added 2 fat pinches of salt right away, and then added another fat pinch just before serving. I have to say, the room-temperature gazpacho is quite flavorful, but if it’s super hot out, there’s nothing better than a well-chilled bowlful. I was rather thankful to only get a quart of soup since most recipes make an obscene amount. I think my yield was less since I used an English cucumber, a medium red bell pepper, and a medium onion.
Smoky Gazpacho Recipe © 2013 Barton Seaver. Photo © 2013 Katie Stoops. All rights reserved.