STRAWBERRY AND FENNEL GAZPACHO
This innovative, cooling gazpacho with a fragrant accent of strawberries is from my friend Adolfo Muñoz, host of a daily TV cooking show, caterer to Spanish celebrities, winemaker, and chef-owner of Adolfo, the best restaurant in Toledo. The flavors here are perfectly balanced, Adolfo says, and the berries snap them into focus so you don't need vinegar. However if you feel the soup could use an extra kick, feel free to add some good sherry vinegar.
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1 cup cubed day-old country bread, crusts removed
2 pounds ripest, most flavorful tomatoes, seeded; 2 tablespoons finely diced, for garnish, the rest chopped
2 pound strawberries, hulled; 2 tablespoons finely diced, the rest chopped
1 large green bell pepper, cored and seeded; 2 tablespoons finely diced, the rest chopped
1/4 medium-size fennel bulb; 2 tablespoons finely diced, the rest thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/4 cups chilled bottled spring water
2 medium-size garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press
Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
|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
|2.||Place the soaked bread and the
chopped tomatoes, strawberries, green pepper, and fennel in a large bowl. Toss to mix and let stand for
15 minutes. 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, puree it finely in a blender, then
transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Add the spring water and garlic (the gazpacho should have the consistency
of a smoothie). Season the soup with salt to taste and refrigerate it, covered, until chilled, about 2 hours.
|3.||Meanwhile, place the finely diced tomato,
strawberries, green pepper, and fennel in a bowl and toss to mix.|
|4.||Spoon the diced tomato mixture into shallow bowls and ladle the chilled gazpacho on top.
Drizzle olive oil over the surface and serve.|