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Recipes: Fresh takes (both chunky and smooth) on gazpacho

Beat the heat this summer with this warm weather staple.

Photo by anthony tieuli; food styling by Sheila jarnes/Ennis inc.

For me, the arrival of locally grown tomatoes means the start of gazpacho season. I make the stuff all summer long, grabbing the first decent tomatoes I spy at the farmers markets and using them until the last ones disappear in the fall. A few years ago, New York Times food writer Julia Moskin published a recipe that converted me from my longstanding preference for chunky gazpacho to a devotee of her smoother variation. For its perfectly balanced high-summer flavor and velvety texture, this has become my go-to gazpacho; my adaptation of her recipe is below.

For the sake of variety, I do mix it up sometimes. Hence the recipes for chunky gazpacho with grilled vegetables (online only) and, another fave, seafood gazpacho with fennel.

JULIA MOSKIN’S SILKY SMOOTH, CRAZY EASY GAZPACHO

Makes about 2 quarts

This is adapted from Julia Moskin’s recipe in The New York Times — barely, because hers is astonishingly good. Moskin suggests passing it through a food mill or strainer to assure perfect texture, but I’ve found that using a good blender makes this unnecessary.

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5        ripe medium local tomatoes (about 2½ pounds), cored and quartered

1         large cubanelle pepper, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped

1         large cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped

1         cup chopped sweet onion (such as Vidalia, Maui, or Walla Walla) or shallots (about 4 medium)

3        medium cloves garlic, pressed or grated

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2        tablespoons sherry vinegar

Salt and ground black pepper

½ to 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1         tablespoon snipped fresh chives, for sprinkling

In a blender and working in batches, puree half the tomatoes, cubanelle pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic, vinegar, ½ tablespoon salt, and ground black pepper to taste until very smooth, at least 1 minute, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender jar if necessary.

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Stop the blender, remove the center cap from the lid, and with a kitchen towel covering the opening, turn the motor back on at medium speed. Move the kitchen towel aside and very slowly add half the oil, continuing to process until the mixture emulsifies, taking on a texture like heavy cream and an orangey-pink color. If necessary, set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl or pitcher and scrape the gazpacho mixture into the strainer, working it through until only seeds and a tiny bit of pulp remain. Repeat with the remaining ingredients (except the chives), adding the remaining oil as necessary to achieve the proper texture and color.

Cover the bowl or pitcher and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 6 hours and up to 2 days. Before serving, whisk to re-blend if necessary. Adjust seasoning with salt and ground black pepper if desired. Serve cold in chilled bowls or glasses, sprinkling each portion with some of the chives.

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SEAFOOD AND FENNEL GAZPACHO

Makes about 3 quarts

I use tomato juice rather than a vegetable juice such as V8, which has a less intense tomato flavor.

2        medium ripe local tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice

1         medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and cut into ¼-inch dice

1         small red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice

½      cup finely chopped sweet onion (such as Vidalia, Maui, or Walla Walla) or shallots (about 2 medium)

1½    teaspoons ground fennel seed

4        medium cloves garlic, pressed or grated, plus 1 large garlic clove, smashed

¼      cup red wine vinegar

Salt and ground black pepper

1         cup bottled clam juice (an 8-ounce bottle) or fish stock

¾  pound medium (41 to 50 per pound) shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved

¾      pound dry sea scallops, muscle removed

1         tablespoon fresh lemon juice

5        cups tomato juice

2½   tablespoons ouzo or other licorice-flavored spirit, optional

1/3       cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, fennel, bell pepper, onion, ground fennel seed, pressed or grated garlic, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, and ground black pepper to taste, and set the vegetables aside to marinate while preparing the seafood.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the clam juice or fish stock and 1 cup water to a simmer. Add shrimp shells and smashed garlic clove and return to a simmer, stirring frequently. Adjust the heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the liquid is fragrant, about 20 minutes. Strain the liquid into a medium bowl, pressing on the solids to release as much liquid as possible.

Return the liquid to the saucepan, set it over medium heat, and bring to a bare simmer. Add the scallops and cook until opaque and barely firm, 2½ to 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl. Add the shrimp to the saucepan and cook until opaque and barely firm, about 1 minute; remove them to the bowl with the scallops. Set the saucepan aside off heat for the liquid to cool to room temperature (or quick-chill the liquid — see tip). Meanwhile, when the seafood is cool enough to handle, cut the shrimp into thirds and the scallops into ½-inch pieces. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp and scallops with lemon juice to coat. Add a pinch of salt and ground black pepper to taste, toss again, and add the seasoned shrimp and scallops to the large bowl with the marinated vegetables. Add the cooled seafood poaching liquid and the tomato juice, stir to combine, cover tightly and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

At serving time, add most of the parsley and stir to mix. Add the ouzo, if using, and stir to combine. Adjust the seasoning with salt and ground black pepper if necessary. Serve cold in chilled bowls, sprinkling each portion with some of the remaining parsley.

TIP: THE BIG CHILL

 To quickly chill the seafood poaching liquid for the Seafood and Fennel Gazpacho, put it in a metal bowl, fill a larger bowl with ice cubes, and nestle the bowl with the liquid into the ice.
anthony tieuli
To quickly chill the seafood poaching liquid for the Seafood and Fennel Gazpacho, put it in a metal bowl, fill a larger bowl with ice cubes, and nestle the bowl with the liquid into the ice.

GRILLED VEGETABLE GAZPACHO

Makes about 2½ quarts

In this recipe, I puree grilled tomatoes and onions to create a thick base with a notable grilled flavor. If you prefer a thinner consistency, adjust by whisking in cold water, about ‚ cup at a time.

5        ripe medium local tomatoes (about 2½ pounds), cored and halved, 2 of them cut into ¼-inch dice

3        tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed

Vegetable oil, for the grill

1         teaspoon smoked paprika

3        medium onions (about 1½ pounds), peeled, cut into ¾-inch-thick slices, and            threaded onto skewers if desired

1         large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into wide planks

Salt and ground black pepper

1         small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice

3        medium cloves garlic, pressed or grated

3        tablespoons sherry vinegar

¾      teaspoon hot pepper sauce

½      cup chopped fresh parsley

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high for 15 minutes. (If using gas, keep the burners on high and cook with the lid closed.) Brush the cut sides of the 3 tomato halves with olive oil. With the vegetable oil, oil the grate. Grill the tomatoes, cut sides down, undisturbed, until lightly marked, about 5 minutes. Turn them over, sprinkle with the smoked paprika, and continue cooking until skins begin to separate, about 2 minutes longer. Remove tomatoes from grill and, when cool, remove and discard the skins and place the tomato flesh in the jar of a blender.

Brush the onions and bell pepper with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Oil the grate again (if using gas, adjust the burners to medium-high and cook with the lid closed) and grill vegetables, turning as necessary, until tender and grill-marked (12 to 20 minutes for onions and 6 to 10 minutes for bell pepper). Remove from grill and cool. Place two-thirds of the grilled onions in the blender jar with the grilled tomatoes; cut the remaining third of the onions into 1/4-inch dice. Remove as much charred skin as possible from the bell peppers and cut them into 1/4-inch dice. In a large glass or ceramic bowl, mix the diced grilled onions and peppers, the diced raw tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, hot sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and ground black pepper to taste, and marinate for about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, working in batches if necessary, add 4 cups cold water to the blender jar and puree the grilled tomato and onion mixture to a smooth, uniform liquid; strain into the bowl with the diced vegetables, working the solids with a flexible spatula until just pulp remains. Stir the mixture to combine, cover tightly, and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

At serving time, add most of the parsley and stir to mix. Adjust consistency with cold water and seasoning with salt and ground black pepper if necessary. Serve cold in chilled bowls, sprinkling with remaining parsley. 

Adam Ried appears regularly on “America’s Test Kitchen.” Send comments to cooking@globe.com