Generally when I think white gazpacho, I think grapes and almonds, thickened with stale bread. This recipe for white gazpacho comes from the Lee Brothers and is not a traditionally Spanish recipe. Instead this recipe is very similar to a traditional gazpacho minus the bell peppers, just more modern. Instead of using bread to thicken the gazpacho, the recipe relies on yogurt to make it creamy and give it some body. And instead of combining all of the ingredients together into one cohesive gazpacho, the cucumber-based soup is kept separate and distinct from the tomato-based garnish that ties it all together. So this recipe was different and sounded very interesting to me. I typically start planning meals in one of two ways: first - by leafing through cookbooks and just seeing what catches my eye, and second - by looking through the fridge or through the grocery store to find an appealing ingredient to build a dish around. Sometimes the recipes that catch my eye are completely out of my league, both in terms of the ingredients they call for and the techniques. If the ingredients are too esoteric or expensive I don't even consider the recipe because what's the point. The same thing goes when I start looking at how many steps (not to mention pots and pans) a recipe calls for. If a recipe calls for 3 pots and pans, 2 cutting boards, multiple knives, and 20 steps, there is no way I am making it. Luckily this soup was pretty simple to make.
When I tasted each of the individual components I wasn't sure how the soup would taste once you combined everything in one bowl. I was really hoping that the soup was more than just the sum of its parts, because while both the soup and the garnish were nice on their own, I was really hoping for something better than just nice. The soup is fresh, with the fresh taste of the cucumber, some tang and creaminess from the Greek yogurt, and a tiny touch of heat from the jalapeno. Then you mix in the tomato mixture, which brings some much needed acidity and brightness to cut through the cool, creamy cucumber soup, as well as some textural contrast. Each spoonful of soup had lots of distinct flavors that really came together to make a delicious and refreshing soup that is perfect for summer.
Recipe after the jump!
Adapted from Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor
By Matt Lee and Ted Lee
2 English cucumbers, roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable broth
12 oz. fat-free Greek yogurt
3 medium tomatoes
1 small red onion, finely diced
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine cucumbers, jalapeno, garlic, veggie broth, and yogurt in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Season to taste with s&p. Chill to allow flavors to combine for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.
Set strainer over a medium bowl. Core tomatoes, cut them in half and remove seeds from the tomatoes, letting seeds drop into the strainer. Tap the rim of the strainer against your palm until most of the tomato goo has dissolved and dripped into the bowl. Discard seeds.
Finely dice tomatoes and add them to the bowl with the tomato juice. Add onion, cilantro, vinegar. Stir to combine. Season to taste with s&p. Set aside.
Divide soup among soup bowls, garnishing each serving with several spoonfuls of the tomato mixture. Serve with toasted baguette.