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Gazpacho
     
     
    Serves 4
     
     I was in New York City last week during an early June heat wave, high 90s every day, and muggy. One of my friends was dying for gazpacho, and who wouldn’t be in heat like that? I directed her to my website, sure that I had long ago posted a recipe for it, only to find that I hadn’t. So I’m rectifying this oversight right now with my recipe for classic Andalusian gazpacho, one of the most refreshing soups in the world.
You may worry about tomatoes, as we are in the midst of a salmonella outbreak that has been linked to tomatoes. But the tomatoes you will use in this recipe are from the farmers’ market; and that’s not where the tainted tomatoes are coming from. In fact, they are still looking for the source of those tomatoes, which shipped from a warehouse somewhere in Mexico to every corner of the country. Eat food that has been grown close to home, and you will stay healthy.
     
    This incredibly refreshing cold soup is all about tomatoes. The stale bread gives it its lovely texture, and the onion and sherry give it a little bite. Make it through the summer; it’s like a drinkable salad.

2 thick slices stale French bread, crusts removed (about 1 ounce)
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1 pound ripe tomatoes, cored and peeled
   
2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste)
   
1 slice red or white onion, coarsely chopped and rinsed with cold water
   
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
   
1 to 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or wine vinegar (to taste)
   
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (to taste)
   
1/2 to 1 cup ice water, depending on how thick you want your soup to be
 
  Salt and freshly ground pepper
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  Garnishes (optional)
   
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber (more to taste)
   
1/2 cup finely chopped tomato (more to taste)
   
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
   
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
   
1/2 cup small croutons
   
1 hardboiled egg, finely chopped
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1. Place the bread in a bowl and sprinkle with enough water to soften it. Let sit 5 minutes, until soft enough to squeeze, and squeeze out the water.
2. Combine the bread, tomatoes, garlic, onion. Olive oil, vinegar, paprika, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour into a bowl or pitcher, thin out as desired with water, cover and chill for several hours.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes, if using. Place them in small bowls on a platter. Serve the soup in glasses if itís a very hot day and you arenít serving garnishes. Otherwise, serve it in bowls and pass the tray of garnishes.

Advance preparation: This will keep for a day in the refrigerator.

     
     
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