Jen has been meaning to make gazpacho for a while. We both love cold, refreshing soups, especially in the summer. When the weather gets warmer, she always hints for me to mix up some Russian Holodnik, a chilled beet soup that’s very popular back in the motherland. Making gazpacho and the like is one of the predominant reasons we invested in a new food processor — to be able to make awesome sauces and soups. Since I didn’t want to steal her gazpacho thunder, I decided to cook something that was a twist on the traditional recipes. So after some searching around, I found this recipe for White Gazpacho, a chilled cauliflower soup. UPDATE: I actually stole Jen’s thunder and made Gazpacho for a Memorial Day Dinner. Sorry :)
The result was tasty, but I think the soup on its own is a bit bland. The consistency I got was a bit grainy, so definitely something to tinker with in the future. To add some more flavor, I garnished the soup not just with cucumber and almonds, but also with some homemade croutons (which was a convenient way to use up the leftover bread from the recipe).
White Gazpacho (courtesy of Food and Wine Magazine)
Yields: 6 servings
- 1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
- 2 slices of crustless white bread (I used a mini French baguette, about 2oz)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (I didn’t have pine nuts, so threw in some pecans instead)
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/4 cups blanched slivered almonds
- 1/2 medium seedless cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped, plus 1/4 cup finely diced cucumber
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- olive oil
- salt pepper, any herbs optional
In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the cauliflower until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water until cool and drain well.
In a blender, combine 1 1/2 cups of cold water with the cooked cauliflower, bread, pine nuts, chopped garlic, sherry vinegar, chopped shallot, 1 cup of the slivered almonds and the coarsely chopped cucumber; blend until smooth. Add the olive oil and pulse just until incorporated. If necessary, add more water to thin the gazpacho. Season the soup with salt and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the remaining 1/4 cup of slivered almonds in a pie plate and toast for about 6 minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden. For croutons, tear up the bread and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, any any herbs of your choosing. I added rosemary because I had some lying around. Put on a baking sheet and toast with the almonds, until golden brown.
Ladle the gazpacho into bowls. Garnish the soup with the toasted almonds, croutons, and the finely diced cucumber and serve.