Add some heat to deepen the flavor of this summertime favorite
The farmers’ market is bursting with fresh vegetables just right for making gazpacho–the perfect healthful summer food, flavorful and low-calorie. Gazpacho is a favorite dish for many, with the classical version calling for a puree of fresh vegetables to make a nutritious and delicious cold soup.
However, the perfect may have been perfected, with heat added two ways. Instead of using raw vegetables, try grilling them to deepen the flavor of the soup while adding a little smoky char. Half a poblano pepper gives a subtle extra kick. Be sure to allow extra time to prepare the soup, because the grilled vegetables take several hours to cool. Better yet, make it a day ahead and chill overnight for a rich, to allow the flavors to blend into a spicy but cool soup.
(Note: All vegetables should be available at the Saratoga Springs Farmers’ Market, as is the feta or goat cheese.)
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 whole fresh poblano pepper*
4 large tomatoes*, halved
1 medium zucchini*, quartered lengthwise
1 medium summer squash*, quartered lengthwise
1 green pepper*, topped, quartered and deseeded
1 red onion* quartered
Salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic*, diced
¼ cup fresh basil*
1 tbsp. fresh oregano*
1 medium cucumber*, peeled and diced
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. Ballston Lake Apiary’s Honey Balsamic Vinegar*
¼ cup crumbled feta* or goat cheese* (optional)
1. Heat the grill to high. Coat grill grates with cooking oil.
2. Place the poblano pepper on the grill and cook until blackened on all sides. Put the pepper into a container or paper bag and close so the steam will loosen its skin.
3. Salt and pepper the tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, green pepper and onion and put them onto the grill, or into a grilling basket. Cook, turning once, for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and slightly charred. Remove and set aside.
4. Scrape the skin from the poblano pepper, then core and remove seeds. Use only half the pepper; freeze the rest for another recipe.
5. Puree all the grilled vegetables (including the half-poblano), adding the garlic, basil and oregano. Depending on the size of your food processor or blender, you may have to work in batches. Pour the pureed mixture into a large bowl and cool completely to room temperature.
6. When cool, stir in diced cucumber and lemon juice. Refrigerate, covered for 2-24 hours.
7. Stir before serving, drizzle each serving with balsamic vinegar, and if desired sprinkle with cheese.
A version of this market recipe appears in this week’s edition of Saratoga Today. Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.