Adapted From Martha Rose Shulman, NYT Cooking
Serves 6 (1st course)
2 slices red or white onion
1 large beet (about 6 ounces), roasted
1 small (6 ounces) cucumber or 1/2 long European cucumber* and coarsely chopped
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered
2 sticks celery, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, still in skin
1 slice of good, hearty bread, cubed
1 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus a little extra for the onion
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ to 1 cup ice water
½ cup diced cucumber
Slivered fresh mint leaves
* Shulman suggests peeling the cucumber. I left the skins on and was delighted by the little green bits in the gazpacho. Plus, the skin contains most of the nutrients of any vegetable. This is especially true for cucumbers.
1. Put the onion slices in a bowl, cover with cold water and add a few drops of vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cut in half or into smaller pieces.
2. In a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. Toast the garlic in the pan until the sides get lightly brown, about 5 minutes total.
3. Working in batches, blend all of the ingredients except the garnishes in a blender for 2 minutes or longer, until smooth and frothy. Transfer to a bowl or container (a metal bowl is the most efficient for chilling), thin out the gazpacho with more water if desired, and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish each bowl or glass with diced cucumber and slivered fresh mint leaves. (Don’t skimp on the mint!)
Make it ahead: This actually tastes better the next day. Gazpacho leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.