When I was growing up we didn’t have central air conditioning. No one did. Instead there was one window air conditioner in the bedroom I shared with my sister and when the mercury rose, we took the mattress off of the box spring and our brother came and slept on the floor. Being the youngest, I got the box spring. Even having this air conditioner was considered quite a luxury. So when the temperature hit the 80’s, my mother – Matthew and Frances’ “Nana” – made her Gazpacho. If we had guests, which was often since everyone loved to come to our house and my mother was a wonderful cook, Nana would also make paella.
I now have central air conditioning, but I still love to have cold soup when the temperature rises. I came across this “green” version while watching the Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin. It’s very different from the Andalusian Gazpacho that Frances made and the tomato-based version that Nana made – both wonderful. All of these soups make an elegant first course or a light supper served simply with crusty bread, maybe a salad and a crisp white or rose wine.
Green Gazpacho Adapted from Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar
6-8 first course servings/ 4 dinner servings
4 cups seedless green grapes
6 scallions, white and light green parts, roughly chopped
2 Large seedless cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic
1 large bunch of flat-leafed parsley, leaves only
1 medium avocado, cut into chunks
1/3 cup EVOO
3 Tablespoons light white vinegar (I like to use Champagne vinegar or Rice Vinegar. If I use rice vinegar, I like to do 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar and 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar. If you don’t mind the sweetness, you can use all rice vinegar.)
Kosher Salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Using a heavy-duty blender or food processor, combine the grapes, scallions, cucumbers, garlic , parsley and avocado. You may have to do this in batches, depending on your blender. Pulse and while the machine is blending, add the olive oil and vinegar. I like my soup fairly thick and creamy but if you prefer a thinner consistency you can add a little ice water.
Season with salt and pepper (for this much soup, 1.5 teaspoons is about right for the salt and about 5-6 cracks of a good black pepper.)
Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours and serve topped with the toasted almonds. I like this even better when made a day ahead. It will keep in the fridge for at least 3 days, but why wouldn’t you just eat it right up?!