Spicy Cucumber Gazpacho
When summer produce is at its peak, and the days are wickedly hot, nothing beats gazpacho. Gazpacho is a cold soup that originated in Southern Spain. Originally made with bread, water, vinegar, oil and salt; fresh, raw vegetables are now the main ingredients.
I make gazpacho all summer and rotate between a recipe featuring tomatoes and today's version with cucumbers in the starring role. I rarely add bread...but vinegar, oil and salt remain from the ancient tradition. Gazpacho is one of those dishes that can be totally customized to your taste. If you have never made it before try my recipe first and then change it up depending on what is in season in your area. The soup's texture is another area where you can tweak to your liking. My version calls for pureeing half the vegetables and keeping the rest diced. You can puree it all for a smoother soup. Totally to your preference. The only "rule" is to ensure you follow the chilling directions. The soup improves tremendously after allowing the flavors to meld. My trick is to make it early in the morning so that when it is time for dinner I just slice some excellent french or sourdough bread, dish up the soup and (maybe put out a few hunks of delicious cheese) dinner is served.