If you are like most gardeners in the Tennessee Valley, you will have a glut of produce during the month of August. We have been canning and freezing like mad. Tomatoes, corn, vegetable soup mix, and beans have been our primary focus.
Today, however, I wanted to share our discovery regarding one of the best ways to preserve authentic summer flavor without too much work. The secret: frozen gazpacho. The recipe can easily be double or tripled.
John's Frozen Gazpacho Base
1 green pepper, trimmed and seeded, coarsely chopped
4 pickling cucumbers, trimmed and seeded, coarsely chopped
6 firm ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
18 large fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup Sherry vinegar, or other vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
Working in batches, chop the vegetables and herbs in a food processor. The mixture should be a bit chunky. Do not liquefy everything. You can also do the chopping by hand. Transfer everything to a large bowl and add the vinegar, salt and paprika. Stir well to combine. Chill overnight, covered.
Transfer the soup base to freezer containers, label and place in the freezer.
To serve, allow the soup base to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Combine with an equal volume of chilled stock or water. (More or less, to achieve the consistency you prefer.) Serve cold, garnished with croutons, sour cream, and chopped scallions.
This makes a delightful substitute for a salad course. The bright flavors are a welcome change from the winter taste of supermarket produce.