Avocado gazpacho

By Sally Pasley Vargas
June 30, 2010

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Serves 4

Traditional Spanish gazpacho was once the food of field workers made on the spot with bread, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and water. It has evolved and now there are numerous versions. This one, without the bread, is at once refreshing from crisp cucumber and bell pepper, creamy from avocado, sweet and crunchy with corn, and tangy from vinegar, lime, and cilantro. It also makes good use of leftover corn on the cob. You can stir a few ice cubes into the soup to thin or chill it just before serving. Remove them before you ladle the soup into bowls.

3 large, ripe summer tomatoes (about 2 pounds), cored and cut in 1-inch chunks
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large yellow, red, or green pepper, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks
1/4 red onion, coarsely chopped
3 cups tomato juice or vegetable juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Dash of hot sauce, or to taste
Kernels from 2 ears of cooked corn on the cob
2 avocados, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch dice
Several sprigs fresh cilantro, leaves only
2 limes, quartered (for garnish)
1. In a food processor, chop the vegetables in batches. Combine half the tomatoes, half the cucumbers, half the bell peppers, and half the onions. Pulse until the vegetables are coarsely chopped, not pureed. Transfer to a large plastic container. Chop the remaining tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and onion in the same way. Tip into the container.

2. Stir in the tomato or vegetable juice, vinegar, and a generous sprinkle of salt, black pepper, and hot sauce. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or hot sauce, if you like.

3. Stir in the corn and avocado. Cover the container and refrigerate for 3 hours or until thoroughly chilled.

4. If the soup has thickened or is not cold enough, add ice cubes before serving (do not serve the cubes). Taste and adjust the seasoning again. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve with lime.