Hooray, it's tomato season! For the next month or so I can think outside of the can and use fresh tomatoes to my heart's content (literally). The irresistible sweet and acidic fruit never comes cheap and this summer the prices have been inflated due to devastating "late blight", a fungal disease that has knocked out a huge number of the tomatoes in the Northeast. Our cold and wet spring made for unhappy tomatoes. And, in turn, unhappy farmers, who often rely on tomatoes to turn a profit. So, all the more reason to get out there and buy what's left of this years not-so-bumper crop. Make some gazpacho...no cooking required!
6 ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 large cucumber--peeled, halved, seeded and cut into chunks
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped or, for added flavor, roasted and cut into strips
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup water
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
salt to taste
- In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, water, oil and vinegar and process until coarsely pureed. Season with salt and adjust amount of vinegar if needed. Refrigerate until chilled.
- Serve in chilled bowls with garnish.