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Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Gazpacho


Serves four.

Yields 5 cups.

Hearty and thick from chopped tomatoes, herbs, and roasted peppers (but not a speck of bread), this soup uses lemon juice instead of the traditional vinegar. It’s almost as thick as a salsa; you can thin it with water if you like.

  • 3 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 lb. ripe tomatoes (about 6 medium), peeled, seeded, and chopped (to yield about 3 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons); more to taste
  • 4 scallions (white and green parts), finely chopped
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded, very finely diced cucumber (from 1 small)
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs, such as basil, chervil, parsley, thyme, marjoram, and tarragon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional) or 1/3 cup cooked tiny shrimp or larger shrimp cut into bite-size pieces (optional)
Roast the peppers:

Set the broiler rack on the top rung and heat the broiler. Lightly oil a broiling pan. Set the pepper halves on the pan, cut side down, and flatten them with your palm. Broil until the skins blister and blacken, 10 to 15 minutes. Seal the peppers in a paper bag (or put them in a large bowl and cover it) so the peppers steam and the skins loosen.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel away the blackened skin and discard it. (It helps to rinse your hands occasionally as you do this, but don’t rinse the peppers or you’ll dilute their flavor.)

Make the gazpacho:

Put the peppers and tomatoes in a food processor and pulse to chop them finely (or use a knife). Put them into a large bowl and stir in the garlic. Gradually stir in the olive oil to incorporate it. Add the lemon juice, scallions, cucumber, and all but 2 tsp. of the herbs (reserve these for the shrimp or goat cheese; if you’re not adding either of these garnishes, mix in all the herbs now). Taste, season the soup well with salt and pepper, taste again, and add more drops of olive oil or lemon juice, if you like. Cover and chill.

If using the goat cheese, put it in a bowl and sprinkle generously with olive oil, the reserved fresh herbs, and pepper to taste; toss gently with a rubber spatula. If using the shrimp, put it in a bowl, moisten with olive oil, and add the reserved fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste; toss with a rubber spatula.

Taste the gazpacho again and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve in chilled soup bowls, garnished with either the goat cheese or shrimp, if using, or just a little spoonful of olive oil floating on top.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per 1 1/4 cup, Calories (kcal): 210, Fat (kcal): 15, Fat Calories (g): 140, Saturated Fat (g): 2, Protein (g): 3, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11, Carbohydrates (mg): 19, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 260, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 5,

Photo: Joanne Smart

i made this on the weekend to deal with a surfeit of tomatoes from the garden, and tonight is batch 2. I didn't add the goat cheese or the shrimp (none around) and processed the tomatoes and roasted red pepper to be very smooth. oh and didn't peel the tomatoes. But it was glorious just the same!

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