Monday, August 19, 2013

Tomato zucchini gazpacho

Hey there, sunshine!  For once, I'm going to zip my lips and let the pictures do the initial talking.

Isn't it breathtaking how bright and gorgeous summer fresh tomatoes and zucchini are?  Makes me think of Christmas.  Too soon, I know!  But those colors are just so vibrant; I can't help myself.  #sorryi'mnotsorry

With vegetables (or, technically, fruit) like that, I envisioned a super simple prep to allow the flavors to shine.  Hallelujah for summer harvests!

So I arranged 'em just so, seasoned with salt and pepper, drizzled olive oil, and topped the whole thing with a dusting of freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Delicious, right?

Well, it wasn't bad, per se, but it wasn't exactly something to write home about.  It was just okay.  And bland.  A collective "meh," if you will.

So I did what anyone would do -- I tossed the contents of the dish into a blender, added some garlic, onion, and seasonings and pureed the "meh" right out of it.

One little taste and it was clear that soup was totally the way to go with this!

Absolutely amazing what a few simple ingredients can do for the natural flavors of zucchini and tomato.  Slightly sweet but mostly savory with the punch from the onion and garlic and hint of salty parmesan.

I devoured the first bowl warm but the second and third (different occasions) were incredibly tasty, right out of the fridge.  Such a refreshing soup!

For those of you who have always wanted gazpacho but shied away because of a dislike for cucumber (coughthisgirlandherhusbandcough), pay attention and make this soup immediately!  For those of you who don't have weird food hang-ups that involve cucumber, make this soup immediately, anyway.  Why?  Because it's delicious!  And zucchini and tomato season won't be here forever.

Two years ago: Chocolate sandwich cookies (aka homemade Oreos)
Three years ago: Fish tacos with mango salsa

Tomato Zucchini Gazpacho
-makes 4-5 servings

1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
5 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Olive oil
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Hot sauce, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat an 8-by-10-inch baking dish with nonstick spray or butter.  Arrange zucchini and tomato slices in dish, and season generously with salt and pepper.  Top with cheese and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until vegetables are soft and beginning to turn golden at edges.  Remove and allow to cool slightly.

In a blender, combine roasted vegetables and their juices, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic, shallot, sugar, and vinegar.  Being careful to vent top (this is why you want the veggies cool enough to handle), blend the heck out of the soup until desired consistency is reached.  (I like my soup smooth.)  Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as hot sauce if using.  Enjoy hot, warm, or cold with a drizzle of olive oil and a nice crusty piece of bread!

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