Mark’s Famous Gazpacho

One of my favorite foods from childhood (at least in retrospect) is gazpacho made in the middle of summer from tomatoes fresh from the garden. These days we mostly buy our tomatoes at the farmer’s market, but I still try to make a huge batch of gazpacho at least once every summer.

I love the zing from the lemons and garlic and the funky sweetness of the tomatoes. The emulsified olive oil provides depth of flavor and a creamy sensation, while the texture of the vegetables and bread makes it a satisfying meal. Light and refreshing, it’s the perfect food during a heat wave.

Here are the most important principles:

– Select ripe heirloom tomatoes (not the fake ones from the supermarket) and fresh veggies generally.

– Use a grassy, flavorful olive oil.

– Don’t skimp on the garlic. Cook it a little if you want to mellow the flavor.

– Buy good bread where you can taste the fermentation. Good choices are sourdough, ciabatta, even a baguette — but nothing from a plastic bag.

– Blend half of the gazpacho (with all the oil) completely smooth, while leaving the other half with some texture, then combine them.

– Plan ahead so you can let the gazpacho refrigerate overnight, which improves the flavor tremendously.