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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Spicy Lemongrass Gazpacho is Winning Summer



Okay, so when I complain about it being too cold, there being too much snow and starting whining that I need some warm, sunny weather, smack me in the head. Today, it is 34C (93F) but feels like 44C (111F) and still, my stupid family expects to be fed. Food. Which usually requires cooking. By me.
WHATEVER



I am making a tofu green curry in my Wizard Pot aka Instant Pot and to go with it, I whipped up a riff on my Spicy Gazpacho that would complement the curry but adding some yummy thai flavours like lemongrass, mint, cilantro and lime juice. This soup is best served ice cold, so, a nice touch is to freeze some of the soup in an ice cube tray to drop into each bowl of soup. That way, you get your ice cold soup but don't have to deal with it getting watered down by melting ice cube.

As always, taste, taste taste and then tweak if you want. If you think it could use more lime juice, knock yourself out. More hot pepper? More lemongrass? Go nuts. Just don't skip the fish sauce because you have weird ideas about it because it doesn't make it taste fishy but it does add a great salty hit and really gives it that Thai taste.


Spicy Lemongrass Gazpacho


makes 1 quart/litre

540 grams of ripe tomato (approx 5 medium)
150 g english cucumber (approx 1/2)
100 g orange pepper (approx 1/2)
2 scallions
1 slice white bread
small handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
small handful of mint, roughly chopped
1 small thai chili, seeded and minced (or more to taste)
1 tbls grated lemon grass (grate inner stalk on a rasp)
pinch kosher salt to taste
2 tbls freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fish sauce



Direction:

rip up the slice of bread and soak in a small bowl with some water. Set aside while you prep the other ingredients.

Tomato options:

Instead of having to blanch and peel them, you can grate them. Cut large, ripe tomatoes in half and then grate them against the large holes on a box grater placed in a big bowl, skin side out. When you get the end of the flesh, you will be left with the skin, which you can discard and you will be left with a bowl full of tomato pulp.

OR

To peel the tomatoes, carve a shallow X in the bottom of the tomato and remove the stem. Then, bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop the tomatoes in for 1 minute. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and put them in a big bowl full of ice water. Using a paring knife, peel the skin off over a bowl to catch all the juices, discarding that skin.
Roughly chop the peeled tomato over the bowl and then pour the tomato and any juices collected in the bowl.

Pu the tomatoes into the blender container along with the cucumber, orange pepper, scallions, cilantro, mint, Thai chili, lime juice, lemon grass, fish sauce and oil in the blender. Remove the bread from the water, squeeze out the extra water and add that to the blender and then puree until really smooth.

Taste, add a pinch of salt and even a bit more lime juice if you think it needs it.  Give another whizz and then pour the soup into a 1 litre/quart glass jar, cover and put it in the fridge for at least an hour to get really cold before serving.