One of my favorite light summer dinners to make is refreshing gazpacho. This chilled soup is sure to quickly soothe an overly hot body. The recipes that I prefer are those without bread, making them lighter and healthier (especially if you're dieting).
This recipe is from my mother's friend, Vicki Sebastiani, founder of Viansa Winery in Sonoma, California. You can find it in her wonderful cookbook Cucina Viansa.
Gazpacho alla California
Makes 8 cups
1 large cucumber: peeled, seeded and diced
1 large red onion: peeled and diced
1 large red bell pepper: seeded and diced
1 large zucchini, diced
6 large tomatoes: peeled seeded and diced (about 6 cups)
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups tomato juice
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Dash of Tobasco sauce (optional)
1/2 sour cream
1/2 cup fresh minced chives
1/2 cups croutons, preferably homemade (I skipped this in my preparation)
Note: I also like to toss in avocado for extra creaminess.
Set aside about a 1/2 cup each of the diced cucumber, onion, pepper, and zucchini. Toss the remaining ingredients into a blender and puree slightly, so vegetables remain a little chunky. Cover tightly and refrigerate 2-3 hours, or until chilled. Either stir the remaining vegetables into the soup, or arrange on a separate dish to be added individually. Nice served with a dollop of sour cream, too.