Sunday, November 16, 2008
Sunday is usually the day when I cook nothing. Breakfast chez nous is pretty haphazard (ie help yourselves to cereal, toast, juice, etc) unless we have had other people's kids for a sleepover. Then we usually go out for lunch, and dinner is officially "fend for yourselves". This can mean that the kids eat anything from boiled rice and scrambled eggs tossed together, to toasted sandwiches to a bowl of cereal, to whatever leftovers are hanging around the fridge. All very low key.
Obviously feeling a similar vibe from thousands of kilometres away, Deb from Kahakai Kitchen launched a great idea a few weeks ago - Souper Sundays. Anything goes as long as you eat it with a spoon. Given the weather here and personal "no cook" preferences for Sundays, I have picked a traditional Spanish gazpacho for this week. All the work is done by the blender, and then the fridge. The end result - a delicious icy tomato-ey soup. Perfect for a light dinner or as part of a bigger meal. Just make sure you get top quality bread and olive oil for the gazpacho. There is no hiding the flavours - so you need to go for the best. This recipe comes from a Williams Sonoma cookbook called "Barcelona" by Paul Richardson. The first night, I ate it garnished with capsicum and cucumber; the leftovers I had garnished with boiled egg. For my money, the boiled egg worked better because of the texture contrast. (And incidentally, the easiest way to peel tomatoes is to pour boiling water over them into a bowl and let them sit in it for a couple of minutes. The skin will come away very easily. To seed a tomato, split it in half and squeeze out the seeds - or scoop them with a teaspoon. )
from "Barcelona" by Paul Richardson. Serves 6-8.
11 slices day-old coarse country white bread (about 315g total weight), crusts remove
2 tbl sherry vinegar
1.5 kg ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/2 yellow onion, chopped into chunks
1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and cut into chunks
1 red capsicum, in cored, seeded and chopped into chunks
1 cup good quality olive oil
Garnishes: (choose which appeal to you)
cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
capsicum, seeded and diced
hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
serrano ham, finely chopped
Place 9 slices of bread into a food processor. Sprinkle the vinegar over the top. Then add the tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, 2/3 cup olive oil, and 1 cup water. Pulse until smooth. Add more water according to whether you prefer the souper more or less thick. Pulse again. Season to taste with more salt and vinegar if desired.
Cover and refrigerate until well-chilled - two hours at least. Meanwhile, chop the remaining two slices of bread into 1cm dice. Warm the remaining oil in a frying pan. Add the bread cubes and fry until golden brown on all sides - about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Just before serving, put the gazpacho in a serving bowl and add a handful of ice cubes. Offer your choice of garnishes in small bowls with the soup.