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Chunky Gazpacho


This chunky variation of Gazpacho, contributed by Carol Jo Thomas, is so good that it shocked me out of my purist stance on the classic Spanish "pureed salad". Carol Jo, a Southern California transplant to the Seattle area and a dedicated cook and trader on the stock market, serves this as a favorite summertime cooler to family and to guests. She notes that while the soup has a high acid level, it is full of beneficial antioxidants. I especially like it with a splash of lime juice (more acid!), which both blends and throws into high relief the crunch of the vegetables and the diversity of their flavors. The even, fine dice of the vegetables makes a difference in the eating--I recommend you take the trouble to chop carefully. It's wonderful. Serve cold to 4-6 people as a meal, 6-8 people as a first course.

Garnish: cilantro leaves for each bowl

Carefully chopped all the vegetables the same small size, then mix in with the tomato juice, oil, optional lime juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Let chill and cure in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and top each one with a cilantro leaf.