It's that time of year, again. Early mornings working in the garden, afternoon siestas, and dinner al fresco and by candlelight, out in the barn, long after the sun has gone down. Cold food is the order of the day - well, not exclusively, but a lot more than would be the case otherwise - and gazpacho comes to the fore as it always does when July comes round.
Everybody seems to have their own version, and many of them are deeply eccentric (watermelon? In gazpacho? I don't think so...). This is more-or-less Paula Wolfert's recipe as given in her 'Mediterranean Cooking', which first found its way onto the bookshelf when it first came out, forty years or so ago. Fortunately, I understand that there's a new edition, which could not be more timely, since mine has got to the stage where the sellotape which holds its pages in place is fighting a losing battle against time and tide. Many happy memories, of dinners around the table in the small courtyard in the Old House in Greece, candles flickering, and the sounds of nightlife from the street outside the gate mingling with the music which spilled softly out along with the light from the living room window.
For two generous servings:
Ingredients: 400 ml tomato juice; 1 small onion; 1 red pepper; 1/2 medium cucumber; 1 medium tomato; 1 large clove garlic; 4 fl oz stock (or water); 1 tbs olive il; 1 tbs wine vinegar; tabasco. Salt and pepper. Croutons, for serving.
1. Along with half the tomato juice, liquidize the tomato, onion, and garlic, along with half the pepper (de-seeded) and half the cucumber.
2. Add to this mixture the stock, remaining tomato juice, and oil and vinegar. Refrigerate for a least several hours.
3. Stir in a few drops of tabasco, and add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve, garnished generously with croutons, and the remaining cucumber and pepper, finely diced.