Creamy Tomato Gazpacho

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Gazpacho is soup served cold. It is perfect for those hot Jamaican summer days when you are sitting in front of a fan, sweating, and hungry. Serves 4 bowls.

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic, Pressed And Chopped
4 whole Scallion, Finely Sliced
1 teaspoon Sugar (brown or regular Jamaican sugar)
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar, Divided
4 whole (salad) Tomatoes Quartered
8 leaves Fresh Basil Plus Extra For Garnish If Desired
1 whole Roasted Red Pepper, Blotted Dry
⅔ cups Plain Yogurt
½ teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoons Black Pepper
4 whole Ice Cubes
Newspaper
Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

First tings first, it is extremely unlikely that your local Jamaican grocery store will carry roasted red peppers in a jar. Fortunately, they are easy to roast yourself over a gas stove or grill. Turn your stove on/ignite some wood and hold the pepper with  metal tongs or in a metal strainer. Also, make sure you protect your hands by wearing oven mitts. Singe the skin of the bell pepper over the flame on all sides.

The pepper will get soft and a little slimy as the skin gets flaky. Careful not to drop it into the fire. Once the majority of the surface of the pepper is black and flaky, wrap it up in some newspaper and let it cool. Once the pepper is cool enough to touch, peel off the skin of the pepper and try to get all the black, flaky bits off. Ta-daa a roasted red pepper!

In a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic, and scallion. Saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and 2 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Continue to heat until shallots have softened and vinegar has thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add this to a large food processor or blender.

Into the processor with scallion mixture, add remaining ingredients and blend until a smooth puree is formed. Transfer to a bowl and place in refrigerator to chill for at least 20 minutes but up to 24 hours (can be made one day ahead).

If you are like me, serve it up with a dollop of scotch bonnet pepper sauce cause if you are already sweating, a little scotch bonnet isn’t gonna change a ting.

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