July 28th, 2013
Cold pureed soup is something that I didn’t know about when growing up but absolutely cannot live without now. Every summer, I seem to find a new variation of cold soup to obsess about (there was watermelon and pineapple gazpacho, and apple-anise soup among many others). This year it’s this Spicy Strawberry Gazpacho which I’ve been making almost weekly, sometimes even every other day, since the beginning of June. It’s simple and ideal for summer heat, with just a few ingredients blended together. You can make it as spicy as you like – I prefer a hint of heat here, so as to frame but not overwhelm the sweetness of strawberries and summer tomatoes.
Paloma is turning five in just a few days and it’s difficult to believe. Her vocabulary is becoming more mature every day and as any parent, I wish she wasn’t growing up so fast! Her preferences in food have been evolving as well. I raised Paloma eating spicy foods and will never forget how much she loved the green soup I used to make her with fresh jalapeno and loads of cilantro when she was just two and three. Now, I have to be very careful about adding any spices into our food if I’m counting on Paloma to try it. Kids’ taste is so bizarrely selective at this age – she won’t eat peaches, for instance, but can inhale twenty olives in one sitting, and a simple Russian cabbage soup, that I very much disliked as a child, is suddenly her favorite. Thankfully, green juice is still on our daily menu, while candies and other traditional sweets are just a distant thought. Hopefully, Paloma will grow out of her no-spice phase soon enough and begin enjoying this gazpacho as much as the rest of the family.
Spicy Strawberry Gazpacho
(adapted form Salatshop)
10 ripe sweet strawberries – divided
3 large heirloom tomatoes – roughly chopped
1 small bell pepper – seeded and roughly chopped
1 medium cucumber – peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 cup soft sun-dried tomatoes
juice of 1/2 lemon
1-2 garlic cloves – roughly chopped
about 1/4 small red chili pepper or more to taste - seeded, or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
dash of cayenne pepper – optional
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
large handful fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
Reserve 5 strawberries. Place the rest of the ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Taste for salt and spice, adjusting if needed. Chill very well. Slice the reserved strawberries. Ladle the soup into chilled bowls and garnish with strawberry slices and basil leaves. Enjoy on a hot summer day.