Since I posted that somewhat decadent strawberry tart earlier this week, I thought I would redeem myself by sharing my favorite recipe for easy-to-prepare, incredibly healthy gazpacho soup. This soup makes a wonderful, light meal when served with a slice or two of rustic bread. It also makes an excellent first course to a meal of grilled fish or chicken. If you’re serving wine, pair it with a crisp, relatively dry Chardonnay.
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 14-oz can of crushed or chopped tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp Worcestshire sauce
1 pinch of red pepper flakes (or a dash of Tabasco or other hot sauce)
2-3 tbsp good quality red wine vinegar
sea salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
Place the chopped bell pepper, cucumber, celery and onion into a blender. Add half the tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Pulse or blend until the chopped vegetables have been further chopped to a consistency you like. I like my gazpacho to have texture, but I dislike large chunks of anything.
Add the remaining tomatoes along with the garlic, vinegar, red pepper flakes, 1 tbsp olive oil and Worcestshire sauce. Blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
When ready to serve, pour into soup bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a little chopped avocado and a sprinkling of cilantro.
Serves 4 to 6.