My Smoky Gazpacho uses what I consider the basic, though quite flexible, standard list of ingredients: ripe tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, and garlic– all chopped uniformly and blended til smooth with sherry vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. However, this recipe deviates from the standard by blackening the red bell pepper as well as a moderately spicy red Fresno chile. Smoked paprika and smoked sea salt add a further subtle layer of mystery. I garnish this soup with a few slices of pan-fried Spanish chorizo. It just feels appropriate. —Sippity Sup (Greg Henry)
red bell pepper
ripe red tomatoes (roughly chopped, juices retained)
cucumber (peeled and seeded)
small red onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
roughly chopped smoked almonds (divided)
(1-inch thick) slice stale Italian bread (torn into 1-inch pieces)
clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
smoked paprika (or more to taste)
smoked sea salt (can substitute standard sea salt)
freshly cracked black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
Roast the peppers: Char the bell pepper and Fresno chile by laying them, one at a time, directly over a gas flame, turning occasionally with tongs until blackened on all sides. Place them in a medium bowl, cover, set aside until cool; rub off the blackened skin, remove stems and seeds, then roughly chop.
Prepare the gazpacho: Place roasted red bell pepper, roasted fresno chile, tomatoes and their juice, cucumber, onion, half the smoked almonds, bread, sherry vinegar, garlic, smoked paprika, smoked salt and pepper in a blender. Process until as smooth as you like, adding a splash of water if necessary to achieve the proper consistency. It should move freely in the blender, but not be watery (add one ingredient at a time and blend before adding another if all the ingredients don’t initially fit).
Once all the ingredients are smooth, drizzle in the olive oil with the machine running until fully incorporated and emulsified.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to come together.
To serve: Just before serving, Heat a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo slices and cook until they begin to curl at the edges and brown. Flip them over and cook until browned on the other side.
Serve the chilled gazpacho in shallow soup bowl, garnished with chorizo slices, remaining chopped smoked almonds, parsley and a drizzle of very good olive oil.