Summer Vegetable Gazpacho
- 2 cups young balsamic vinegar
- 2 lb. ripe tomatoes
- 1 English (hothouse) cucumber
- 1 red onion
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 slices day-old sourdough French bread, crusts
removed and torn
- 3 cups tomato juice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for
- 1 Tbs. mild smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón
de La Vera)
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbs. finely shredded fresh cilantro
- 2 Tbs. finely shredded fresh mint
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped lemon zest
Peel, seed and finely chop the tomatoes and cucumber. Finely chop the onion. Seed and finely chop the bell peppers. In a large, nonreactive bowl, combine the bread slices and 1/2 cup of the tomato juice and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, yellow and red bell peppers, garlic, broth, the remaining 2 1/2 cups tomato juice, the 2 Tbs. olive oil, the 2 Tbs. balsamic syrup, the paprika and cumin, mixing well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to blend the flavors.
Transfer 4 cups of the tomato mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl, stirring well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
When ready to serve, in a small bowl, stir together the cilantro, mint and lemon zest. Ladle the soup into chilled bowls and sprinkle each serving with an equal amount of the shredded herb mixture. Drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic syrup over each serving. Serves 6.