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Summertime soup with a kick of heat

April 24, 2010|By SCOTT C. ANDERSON / Special to The Herald-Mail

I traditionally like hot and spicy food, so much so that often my staff and family comment that to try my foods is simply to dine with fire.

Even though a simple dish may not call for heat, I usually try to spice things up and add a little extra hot sauce or chopped up jalapeno peppers, if possible.

Such is the case with this wonderful summertime soup, gazpacho.

Even though the past several days have felt more like fall, the warmer weather is sure to arrive anytime. When it does you want to be ready with this delicious creation for your guests and family. The recipe as you see it is a blending of two recipes I like, one a traditional Spanish recipe and the other a recipe from a professional garde manger chef's kitchen. A garde manger is the chef who has the expertise in the kitchen to properly season cold food.

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- Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and chef ambassador to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Gazpacho - Chef Scott style



Soup base ingredients:

10-ounce of crustless, firm white bread
Ice water
2 pounds of tomato, seeded and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 sweet onions, peeled and chopped
2 red and orange peppers, cleaned and chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
20 fluid ounces canned tomato juice
8 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
Salt

Soup components:

2 ounces cucumber, brunoise (See Cook's note)
2 ounces green bell pepper, cleaned, brunoise
2 ounces tomato, seeded, brunoise
2 ounces sweet onion, brunoise
2 ounces scallions, chopped scallions
2 ounces jalapeno peppers, chopped
4 ounces garlic croutons

Soak the bread in water to cover for 10 minutes, and then squeeze the water out of the bread and place into a food processor. Add the tomato, garlic, onion, peppers and cucumber and grind to a coarse puree. Add in the tomato juice, olive oil and cumin. Process until combined and smooth. Do not process until it is foamy. Remove from the food processor, place into plastic bowl and season with vinegar and salt to taste. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes to an hour to allow the flavors to blend and mellow. If the soup base is too thick then thin with additional tomato juice or ice water and taste to correct acidic balance of flavor with additional salt and/or vinegar if needed.

Before service, ladle soup base into chilled bowls, then sprinkle the soup components evenly into the bowls or set aside in separate bowls so the guests can add their own amount. Lastly, place the croutons in a separate dish to be added by the guests as desired.

o Serves 8

Cook's note: Brunoise is a basic knife cut measuring 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch by 1/8 inch. The diced vegetables are blanched briefly in salty boiling water and then submerged in ice water for a few seconds to set the color.

- courtesy of Scott C. Anderson

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