I realize I’m on a zucchini roll here and I apologize for that, but dang it if Bobbie Cox didn’t bring more of it yesterday. It is only mid-June and she’s already in zucchini overload. And now so am I. A few weeks ago, Bobbie also gave me jars upon jars of canned tomatoes. And since it is 574 degrees in Middle Tennessee, I decided to make gazpacho.
Gazpacho is a cold tomato soup – or some call it a liquid salad – that is usually made with tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, garlic and a few other odds and ends thrown in. To me, soups are like casseroles. You really don’t need a recipe. Just throw some stuff together and taste, taste, taste until it’s right. So I have all these home-canned tomatoes and zucchini and that’s what I used to make the soup.
Now here is the genius that occasionally visits itself upon me. Mark, of course, asks if there’s any meat to go with the gazpacho. Well, no, carnivore man. There is no meat in gazpacho. It’s supposed to be a healthy, light meal. However. HOWEVER. I do happen to have a package of Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon in the fridge and I know you will agree with me that bacon goes with just about anything. And it did. Basically that bacon turned the gazpacho into a liquid BLT.
Obviously, you can make this with fresh tomatoes once tomato season starts, which is a few weeks away here. But keep in mind that canned tomatoes are a good alternative because they’re picked at the peak of perfection and they’re already skinned.
Gazpacho with Zucchini and Bacon
Four thick slices day-old country bread, crusts removed
3 pounds whole canned tomatoes, drained
1 medium zucchini, peeled and sliced
½ cup red onion, cut in chunks
2 large cloves garlic, diced
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Generous dash of hot sauce
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Tear the bread into large pieces, put in a bowl and cover with a little of the tomato juice from the can. Press the bread with your fingers to make sure it’s soaked. Set aside for five minutes.
Drain the tomatoes and add them to a food processor. Add the zucchini, onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and hot sauce. Blend until smooth. Taste and add as much salt as you prefer. Stir in the dill and refrigerate at least an hour.
Garnish: Diced zucchini, yellow pepper, red onion and bacon
Dice ¼ cup zucchini, ¼ cup yellow pepper, ¼ cup red onion and 4 strips of cooked bacon.