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CLASSIC GAZPACHO WITH TINY OLIVE OIL CROUTONS
from "The New Spanish Table" by Anya Von Bremzen

Here is the coral-pink Sevillian gazpacho that most foreigners are familiar with. Ripe, gorgeous tomatoes; excellent olive oil (preferably Andalusian hojiblanca); and a good aged (reserve) sherry vinegar make the soup unforgettable. It's as good as classic gazpacho gets! Although the original mortar-pounded gazpachos were probably rather coarse in texture, modern Spanish cooks like their soup silky smooth. I suggest using a food processor to puree the vegetables, then switching to a blender to achieve a velvety texture. OK, so you might have to rinse an extra utensil, but the payoff is worth it, and the blender sure beats the tedious traditional method of forcing the vegetables through a fine sieve.

Serves 8
INGREDIENTS (CLICK TO BUY)

For the Soup
2 cups cubed day-old country bread, crusts removed
2 medium-size garlic cloves, chopped (see Note)
1 small pinch of cumin seeds or ground cumin
Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
3 pounds ripest, most flavorful tomatoes possible, seeded and chopped
2 small Kirby (pickling) cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1 large Italian (frying) pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 medium-size red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
1/2 cup fragrant extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chilled bottled spring water, or more as needed
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, preferably aged, or more to taste

For the Garnishes
Finely diced cucumber
Finely diced peeled Granny Smith apple
Finely diced slightly under-ripe tomato
Finely diced green bell pepper
Tiny Olive Oil Croutons (recipe follows)
Slivered small basil leaves

Tiny Olive Oil Croutons
About 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1/3 cup 1/4-inch bread cubes

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PREPARATION

1.Place the bread in a bowl, add cold water to cover, and let soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the bread and squeeze out the excess liquid.
2.Place the garlic, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a mortar and, using a pestle, mash them to a paste.
3.Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, Italian and red peppers, onion soaked bread, and the garlic pate in a large bowl and toss to mix. Let stand for about 15minutes. Working in two batches, place the vegetable mixture in a food processor and process until smooth, adding half of the olive oil to each batch. Once each batch is finished, purée it finely in a blender, then transfer it to a large mixing bowl.
4.When all the gazpacho has been pureed, whisk in the spring water and vinegar. It should have the consistency of a smoothie. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or vinegar as necessary. Refrigerate the gazpacho, covered, until chilled, about 2 hours. Serve the soup in glass bowls or wineglasses with the garnishes.
Note If making the gazpacho a day ahead, do not add the garlic more than 2 to 3 hours before serving, or it may overwhelm other flavors.
Tiny Olive Oil Croutons
When bread isn't used to thicken Spanish soup, it often finds is way into the bowl in the form of crisp croutons. You can always make croutons in the oven, but little ones fried in good olive oil are an especially good crunchy treat. To make the bread easier to cut into cubes, freeze it for twenty minutes. Stored in an airtight container, the croutons will keep for several days.
For fried croutons: Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat until a bread cube dropped in the oil sizzles on contact. Add the bread and cook, stirring, until crunchy and golden brown, 1 to 11/2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the croutons to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
For baked croutons: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or melted butter. Spread the bread cubes out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until browned, 5 to 8 minutes.



Buy The Ingredients
Product nutrition and information
 Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
  FreshDirect Wheat Baguette, Frozen - $2.25/ea
 16"
 
  Beefsteak Tomatoes, Large - $1.99/lb
 
 
  Kirby Cucumber, Medium - $1.99/lb
 
 
Italian Grilled Peppers - $12.99/lb
 
 
  Red Bell Pepper, Large - $3.99/lb
 
 
  Red Onion, Large - $1.29/lb
 
 
  Capirete Vinagre de Jerez Sherry Vinegar - $5.29/ea
 12.7fl oz
 
  Granny Smith Apples - $4.99/ea
 4pk
 
  Gotham Greens Local Basil - $3.99/ea
 1.5oz
 
You May Already Have
  FreshDirect Cumin Seed
This product is currently unavailable.
 
  Garlic - $4.99/lb
 
 
  La Baleine Fine Sea Salt - $3.79/ea
 26.5oz
 
  Bel Aria Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - $11.99/ea
 34fl oz
 
  Evian Natural Spring Water - $1.79/ea plus tax & deposit
 1L
 
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