Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Gazpacho Salad

I love gazpacho, the Spanish cold tomato and cucumber soup. It's tasty and refreshing and really, I just love anything that seems like I might be eating salsa with a spoon. My family finds it too acidic, though, to really enjoy. I modified a recipe to cut out the extra acids (such as vinegar or citrus juice), but it's still not a favorite to anyone but me.

Today I tried a new modification that is a salad rather than a soup and it was a big hit. There were beautiful, bright yellow, vine-ripe tomatoes at the market that I just had to put into something that would showcase them properly. I also had some beautiful, fragrant fresh green chiles to use. I roast them individually over the flame on my gas stove. The scent takes me back to the chile roasting we had as a kid - in Tucson when green chiles are in season, the grocery stores run their big barrel roasters over gas fires in the parking lots. The smell permeates the streets for weeks and you can get a giant burlap bag of roasted chiles for a great price. We always got chiles and Mom peeled and froze them in small pachages for chile all year round. She still brings me some and they're delicious.

But back to the Gazpacho Salad! For this I wanted a fresh, raw chile taste so I roasted it individually (although you can do multiples in the oven) to keep the flesh uncooked. Check out how the skin blackens and bubbles up. Then it can be peeled off easily.

Gazpacho Salad
1 clove garlic, finely minced
small wedge yellow onion, finely minced
1 yellow tomato, seeded and diced
1 red tomato, seeded and diced
1 green chile, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 small cucumber, seeded and diced
3 oz mozerella, diced
1 avocado
salt and pepper

Put the garlic and onion in the bottom of the bowl and add the tomatoes on top of it so the acids from the tomatoes can soften the garlic and onion flavors. Add the other items except the avocado. When ready to serve, dice the avocado, drain the juice off the salad and toss it with the avocado. Add the avocado (but not the juice) and toss. Serve over romaine or other hearty lettuce.

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