June 8, 2012 § 25 Comments
So, I think I might have had more to share with you. Some further reflections, maybe a recipe, and many many thanks for your wonderful, kind response to my post about my feast. But it’s going to have to wait. It will have to wait because my consciousness has been completely and irrevocably subsumed by this soup.
It’s like a secret that’s just too good. It takes on a will of its own, growing and pushing and elbowing until it burbles out to be shared, whether or not you meant for it to be aired. I do want to share this soup with you, and it has decided that it simply can’t wait any longer.
When we ate it for supper a while back Joel exclaimed, “this is the first soup that I can say without qualification that I love.” Myself, I would count it among a very small handful of soups that I have truly loved. But it is the only one of said soups that does not also contain more than my week’s allotment of cream in a single bowl.
Being the crazy upsy-downsy spring and early summer it has been, the day when we had this soup was not even remotely a gazpacho-y day. Rain and cold had come to roost, and I had to wear two sweaters and a scarf to stay warm enough while sitting at my computer working on transcribing. But, I had decided earlier in the week to make gazpacho, so I thumbed my nose at the weather and did so.
The moment I tried a bite, any concerns about it being right or wrong for the weather became trivial, trifling things on par with concerns like should I choose dusky rose or evening rose for my nail color?
We both ate two bowls, and I’m seriously considering the possibility of it being an adequate diet if I eat nothing else but strawberry gazpacho for the entire summer. Perhaps with the addition of some more spears of grilled asparagus wrapped in Serrano ham. Those made for nice companions.
Who would have thought that strawberries would integrate so marvelously into a chilled, savory soup? (It is thoroughly on the savory side; no dessert soup here.) But it does, and, at least for me, may banish tomatoes from my gazpacho repertoire forever.
I’m sure this all sounds a little extreme, but I’ve never been much of one for the regular tomato gazpacho. I like the concept, but in the execution I find it usually tastes like someone screwed up the salsa, or has poured cans of tomato juice into our bowls.
Strawberries, on the other hand, provide pep, verve, zing, and a brighter sweet-savory balance than tomatoes do. The strawberry flavor is pronounced in a very, very good way, and it both mollifies the stemmy flavor of the peppers, which can sometimes be abrasive otherwise, and highlights the juiciness of the cucumber while keeping it from tasting just a little too much like a facial mask smells.
I can claim no credit for the brilliance of this recipe. It’s all Daniel Humm’s. And given that he is the chef of Eleven Madison Park, one of the top restaurants in New York City and near the top on the world stage as well, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that I was swept off my feet by his rendition of an early summer soup.
But what truly is surprising, I think, is how simple the execution of this particular recipe is. Many of the recipes in his book will probably remain just eye candy for me given their reliance on nitrogen cartridges, thermomixes, agar agar, and foie gras in many beautiful, beautiful guises. But this soup is just chop, chop, chop, leave for 3-6 hours, blend, blend, blend, and serve.
Unless you are one of the tiny percentage of the population who has a chinois in your home kitchen that you just really love using, I’d say you don’t even need to strain the soup. The velvety texture of a strained soup is lovely, but I liked the very subtle nubbliness of the unstrained one as well.
It’s enough to make me want tomato season to hold off far into the future. Just keep the strawberries coming. I need more soup.
Strawberry Gazpacho adapted, just barely, from the Eleven Madison Park Cookbook (makes 8 very modest servings or 4 generous ones)
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, kept whole, but peeled and crushed
- 1 1/2 cups whole grain bread (I used Ezekiel bread, which worked great), crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 6 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 2 1/4 cups English cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1 1/4 cups red bell pepper, diced
- 3/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
- 2 Tbs. tomato paste mixed into 4 Tbs. water
- 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- basil leaves, freshly ground black pepper, and olive oil, for serving
- Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in a medium-small saute pan over medium-high heat. Add in 1 clove of garlic and when it starts to sizzle add the bread cubes and thyme. Cook, stirring until the bread is golden brown, being careful not to burn. Discard the garlic clove and thyme and put the bread cubes into a large bowl.
- Add the remaining garlic clove, the strawberries, cucumbers, peppers, 1/2 cup olive oil, tomato-paste water, vinegar, and salt to the bowl. Toss everything to combine, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave to marinate at room temperature for 3-6. (Mine wound up sitting for 7. It was fine.)
- After 3-6 hours, puree the mixture together in small batches until very smooth. Strain, if desired, then refrigerate until fully chilled.
- Before serving, taste and adjust the salt and vinegar if desired. Serve sprinkled with basil leaves, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil on each bowl.
Reblogged this on bellesbaubles and commented:
One day i am going to try preparing one of these amazing recipes this looks incredible
Amazing! I have to try this!
Thanks! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
I’ve done cucumber and tomato, but strawberry gazpacho takes it to a whole new level! Nice work!
This looks great and we have strawberries- we will be trying this (and we need a good gazpacho recipe). thx
Lucky you! Put those strawberries to good use!
Nice! Try it with pickled herrings as topping. Incredibly good!
Really?! What an interesting combination! I’ll have to try it.
It has been a long time I haven’t prepared this gazpacho. First time I tried it was 4 years ago. It’s absolutly delicious!
Another option is to use watermelon instead of strawberries. I can not decide which one is better!
Yes, I’ve seen watermelon gazpacho before too. I haven’t tried it though, so I’ll have to make it and see what I think!
A good gazpacho is something that I never pass up. The way you talk about it is so enticing! By the way, I´m part of the tiny percentage that own a small chinois..and I use it almost every day.
You are my kitchen implement hero! 🙂
I love this idea so much. I do enjoy a good tomato gazpacho, and I’ve had a white gazpacho with green grapes in it, but strawberries? Amazing. Thanks for the recipe!
Thank you! The green gazpacho sounds like a fun idea too!
[…] but I also vowed to never make one ever again! But then I came across a strawberry Gazpacho from five&spice that looked and sounded SO divine (her descriptions and pictures were amazing), that I was inspired […]
I just made this, and it was as amazing as you made it sound! Thanks so much for sharing, your descriptions and pictures are amazing too!
Oh, I’m so thrilled that you loved it as much as we did!
[…] strawberry gazpacho came from 5 And Spice. Its a great recipe but I didn’t do a very good job with the execution. I was busy making jam […]
[…] Strawberry Gazpacho (Recipe and photo borrowed from a wonderful foodie blog that I love called Five and Spice). […]
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[…] I was reminded again that I probably will never make the majority of the food in there, save the strawberry gazpacho. I could still be inspired though! I wanted the meal I cooked for them to be more home style […]
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I think you are being too extreme about tomato gazpacho – it is one of our favorite dishes. I never use tomato juice in my recipe. It is all fresh vegetables – tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, and lots of garlic. And of course olive oil and vinegar. So it never tastes like tomato juice. I am sure a lot of people use tomato juice to try to give it a punch when one is never needed. When we lived in Spain it was something we ate everywhere we went. My children grew up on it and love it to this day. The recipe of strawberry gazpacho sounds interesting but would never replace the real variety. Keep trying the tomato gazpacho until you find the perfect ingredients. It will taste nothing like you express.
It is possible that I get a little extreme when I write for the sake of drama! 🙂 I have actually had some very good homemade tomato gazpacho, made by a friend from Majorca. But, I’ve also had a lot of not very good gazpacho. I think it depends on the technique and quality of ingredients. Though I did make the comparison, the strawberry gazpacho, I think, should be considered it’s own thing, separate from tomato gazpacho. It’s just really delicious, and it doesn’t need to be a replacement because tomatoes and strawberries are in season at totally different times. So you can enjoy first one, then the other!