To make really good gazpacho, you'll need a few vegetables that are so ripe that they're practically bursting with juices. Tomatoes are traditional; they tend to work beautifully. Gazpacho usually comes in one of two colors: red or green. But there's no reason why you shouldn't give yellow gazpacho a try.
In this recipe, raw yellow tomatoes and yellow bell peppers are simply blended together, thickened with vinegar-soaked bread, and made silky with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Before serving the soup, chill it for at least an hour in the fridge. This short rest gives the flavors a chance to mingle.
When it's especially hot outside, I like to serve gazpacho in a very cold glass. At the table, I set out little bowls of various garnishes -- finely chopped chives, seeded and diced cucumber, sliced avocado, hard-boiled eggs, herbs, and croutons - -that can be selected and combined in any way that one pleases.
Serves 4 - 6 as a first course
1 thick slice of country bread (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1½ pounds ripe yellow tomatoes
½ yellow bell pepper (about 4 ounces)
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Finely chopped chives, for serving
Diced cucumber, for serving
Diced avocado, for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the crust from the bread. (I usually reserve the crust and make croutons from it: Simply cut it into small pieces and fry them in a skillet with a little olive oil and salt.) Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and place in a blender or food processor. Pour the vinegar over the bread and let soak for a few minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
Cut the tomatoes into big pieces, discarding the stems, and add to the blender. Try to add as much of the tomato juices as possible. Cut the bell pepper into big pieces, discarding the stem and seeds, and add to the blender along with the garlic, 1½ teaspoons salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Blend until smooth. While the blender is spinning, drizzle in the olive oil and continue to blend until incorporated. Taste for seasoning -- the gazpacho should be well salted because it will be served cold. Chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Pour each serving of gazpacho into a nice glass or little bowl. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, if you like, alongside the garnishes.