Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gazpacho--Barefoot Bloggers

Our final Barefoot Bloggers recipe for June is Gazpacho, selected by Meryl of My Bit of Earth. I am a Gazpacho fan and have made several different recipes for this cold Spanish soup, but had never tried Ina's recipe so I was happy to get the opportunity to make it. Another bonus is that there was no butter to cut out, a semi-rare thing in an Ina recipe. Although this is generally a pretty healthy recipe, I did find two things to cut down on; olive oil and salt and I reduced both, (the amounts I used are in red below and are for a half batch of the soup--which still in Ina fashion, makes a pretty large amount). In The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Ina recommends a particular brand of tomato juice called Sacramento Tomato Juice and since I didn't see it at either of the two stores I went to, I went with the on-sale V-8 Vegetable Juice, (the low sodium version because you can always add a bit of salt to taste and you don't get the massive amounts of sodium that are in the regular version), which worked perfectly. Finally, there is just something about gazpacho that calls out for shrimp, so I served mine in a margarita glass topped with fresh parsley and basil and hooked some of the plump pink beauties on the rim--perfect for a summer party.  

In addition to The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, this recipe is also at the Food Network site here.

The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten
(Makes 4-6 Servings)

1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups) (I used low-sodium V-8)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil (I used about 1 Tbsp for a half batch)
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt (I used a very small pinch for a half batch)
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (I used the full teaspoon for a half batch)

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

Notes/Results: As usual Ina's recipe is great; simple and very flavorful and so good on a hot day or night. Cutting the oil and salt still resulted in a delicious soup--in fact I think even using the low sodium vegetable juice, if I had used Ina's amount of salt it would have been too much. The sweetness of the shrimp is perfect with the savory soup and helps round it out, making it feel more like a meal. The keys to a good gazpacho are great, fresh vegetables, (says the girl who used the on-sale V-8!) and letting it set in the fridge overnight to get nice and cold. When I have made or been served less than stellar gazpacho, it usually relates back to these two things. The fresher and sweeter your veggies, the better your soup, and letting it sit for 12-24 hours allows the flavors to mature and meld together. I also like to get my onion pretty fine, while keeping the other veggies chunkier. There is no worse gazpacho buzzkill in my book than biting into a big old hunk of onion, so I give them a few extra pulses which also makes for a thicker broth. Although I made just a half batch of this recipe, I had enough for a couple of glasses and the rest is going to accompany me to a small tapas party tonight where it will be served in small juice glasses with a shrimp hung over the side of each one as "Gazpacho Shots.

This was a really great pick--thanks Meryl! You can find out more details on the Barefoot Bloggers as well as see what the other BBs thought of this recipe by going to the site here


  1. Yours looks terrific - I bet everyone loved it at the tapas pary.

  2. I had gazpacho for the first time on the cruise and really enjoyed it. This looks just as good, if not better. Also, I would totally be the girl buying the V8 as well haha.

  3. A really nice rendering of Ina's Gazpacho. I'll have to give this a try.

  4. It looks great Deb! I love the festive look in the margarita glass with the shrimpies. Nicely done!
    (ps, word ver. = mintea)

  5. This looks amazing with the shrimp! How delicious!

  6. that does look refreshing especially on those humid days/nights!

  7. Look at those shrimp! I haven't had gazpacho in a long time. Yours is stunning. Sounds like a great recipe.

  8. I love the BC gazpacho. We have Sacremento tomato juice here; I keep a six-pack on hand for emergency Bloody Marys. :)

  9. Shrimp would be perfect with this, and your presentation is flawless. I also cut back on the oil, vinegar, salt and used vegetable juice from Trader Joe's. It was great!

  10. I avoid regular V8 because of the sodium content - that stuff will preserve you for days!

    Shrimp were a great addition - I love shrimp cocktail and this looks even better.

  11. I'd never made gazpacho before! I thought it was good, but I'm wishing I had added those shrimp... Next time!

  12. lovely and refreshing great with your scrimp

  13. See! It not only doubles as salsa, but as a cocktail sauce, too!!! LOL...looks great. I think shrimp is really the way to go when making this gazpacho.

  14. When I first looked at the picture, I thought it was a creepy hand holding the side of the bowl! Then I realized it was fat shrimp!

  15. What a great presentation! I will try this for an appetizer for the fourth of July. I used shrimp and v-8 too. Great minds think alike.

  16. That looks awesome. I'm glad to know about the salt reduction and I think shrimp is the perfect accompaniment. Yum!

  17. What a gorgeous presentation! I agree with just about everything you said about this soup. The key to it (or any gazpacho!) is to get it COLD. I made a full batch (from the cookbook, which is double the online recipe) and it lasted over a week (I think the vinegar helps it keep?) and got better and better. I also cut the oil way down and did not think it compromised the flavor at all - in fact, I think the full amount of oil Ina called for would have ruined it for me. Your soup looks fabulous!

  18. This made such a great little dipping sauce for the shrimp, didn't it? Hope it was a hit at the party!

  19. The soup looks good (I am a huge gazpacho fan) but the addition of those big fat prawns just makes it amazing.


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