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Gazpacho with Serrano Chilies

Gazpacho is a thick, flavorful soup from the Andalusia region of Spain. It usually has a tomato base, is thickened with bread crumbs and is always served cold. Here, it is spiced up with hot serrano chilies. Serve with a simple mixed green salad and pour a cold Spanish white wine, such as an Albariño or a Verdejo. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 large red bell peppers, about 1 1/2 lb. total  
  • 1 1/4 lb. tomatoes 
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks 
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice 
  • 2 serrano chilies, seeded and minced 
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 
  • 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar 
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes 
  • 1 Tbs. snipped fresh chives 
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 

Directions:

Preheat a broiler.

Arrange the red bell peppers on a baking sheet and place in the broiler about 6 inches from the heat source. Broil, turning with tongs, until the pepper skins are blistered and charred black on all sides, about 15 minutes. Place the peppers in a paper bag and let stand until cool enough to handle. Remove the stem from each pepper and discard. Slit the pepper open, then remove and discard the seeds and ribs. Remove the blackened skin with a small knife.

Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Using the largest holes on a box grater placed over a bowl, grate the tomato halves. Discard the skins. In a food processor, pulse the cucumber chunks until coarsely pureed. Add to the bowl. Process the roasted peppers until coarsely pureed. Add to the bowl. Stir in the yellow bell pepper, chilies, onion, garlic, the 2 Tbs. olive oil, the vinegar and salt. Cover and refrigerate until slightly chilled.

Ladle the chilled gazpacho into individual glasses or bowls and garnish with the avocado. Sprinkle with the chives and oregano and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).