Culinary Curious

Photo: Carl Tremblay

Gazpacho

Presented by America's Test Kitchen

Makes about 3 quarts, serving 8 to 10

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe medium beefsteak tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), cored and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 2 small red bell peppers (about 1 pound), cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 2 small cucumbers (about 1 pound), one peeled and the other with skin on, both seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia, Maui, or Walla Walla) or 2 large shallots, peeled and minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
  • Ground black pepper
  • 5 cups tomato juice, preferably Welch's
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • 8 ice cubes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for serving

Method

Combine tomatoes and their juices, bell peppers, cucumbers, onion, garlic, salt, vinegar, and pepper to taste in large (at least 4-quart) nonreactive bowl; let stand until vegetables just begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato juice, hot pepper sauce, if using, and ice cubes; cover tightly and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 4 hours. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, remove and discard any unmelted ice cubes, and serve cold, drizzling each portion with about 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and with desired garnishes (see note). (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 2 days.)

Garlic Croutons

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch white bread cubes (from baguette or country loaf)

Method

Adjust rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine garlic, salt, and oil in small bowl; let stand 20 minutes, then pour through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl. Add bread cubes and toss to coat. Spread bread cubes in even layer on rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet to room temperature. (Can be covered and stored at room temperature up to 24 hours.)