V Gazpacho (With an Optional Shrimp Garnish)
Charlie Palmer, from Charlie Palmer's Practical Guide to the New American Kitchen. Serves 4. Start the day before you want the soup, but active time is only about 30-45 minutes.
The shrimp is only an option. In fact, this recipe is so flavorful that all the garnishes are really not needed, but they do "dress up" the dish if you want to impress guests.
10 ripe plum tomatoes (but any type of really flavorful tomatoes will be good), quartered
3 stalks celery, chopped
6 canned peeled piquillo peppers (I have trouble finding these, so I used either fresh or jarred roasted red peppers)
1/2 unpeeled cucumber, washed and chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 sprig fresh basil
1/2 clover garlic, smashed
For the Garnish
20 small shrimp, peeled and deveined - optional
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium ripe avocado - optional
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 sprigs fresh cilantro
Combine the tomatoes, celery, peppers, cucumber, carrot, and onion in a large, shallow dish. Add the water, oil, vinegar, basil, and garlic. Season with sea salt and white pepper to taste; mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Puree the gazpacho right in the bowl with an immersion/hand blender, or process it in batches in a blender. Adjust the seasoning and return the gazpacho to the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Saute the shrimp in 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until well chilled.
Shortly before serving, halve the avocado, remove the pit, and with a large spoon, scoop out the flesh in 1 piece. Put in on a cutting board cut side down and slice into large slices. Squeeze the lime juice over the avocado and season with salt and pepper.
If the gazpacho separated a little, give it quick "whirr" with the hand blender before serving. Pour the gazpacho in well-chilled bowls. Arrange the shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, and cilantro over the soup, which is so thick that they will sit right on the top. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.