Absolutely Nothing To Cook – Tomato and Strawberry Gazpacho by Mimi Roberts

During my extended summer stay at our house in France, my Spanish friend Jose who, deprived of good food due to his sticking to the frightful Dukan diet, can only talk about all things gastronomic rather than either cook or eat them!

We talked about the recent closure of Ferran Adria’s restaurant in Spain which neither of us had ever been to and of his wonderful combinations of flavours. He spoke of a strawberry and tomato gazpacho, which during this hot weather, I thought would be just the thing. We have a brilliant roadside shop near us which I call the “Tomato Shop”. It has the most amazing array of different old fashioned types of tomatoes, all home grown. It also had wonderful looking strawberries…..so……..I spend a happy half hour fiddling with ingredients, overseen by Jose and came up with the following gazpacho.

Strawberry and Tomato Gazpacho

500 grams of strawberries, hulled
3-4 large ripe tomatoes , unskinned.
Half a red pepper
1 red chilli
large clove of garlic, crushed
4 spring onions, white bits only
1 soup spoon of sherry vinegar
sugar to taste
light chicken stock (as much as you think it needs)
salt and pepper
Olive oil

Ideas for garnish are :
Cubed pieces of melon or crunchy pancetta or cubed cucumber and chopped mint, or basil or, for something special, some lobster.  I did pancetta which I cooked in a hot oven on baking parchment until it was crispy, then crumbled it over the soup with some basil leaves just before serving

To make the gazpacho, put all the ingredients in the liquidiser and give it a good whizz, taste and add more of whatever you think it might need so that the balance is perfect. It should be sweet, spicy and sour at the same time. If it is too thick, then add more stock. Then put through a fine sieve and chill for at least 4 hours. Serve in either glasses or bowls and garnish with the above suggestions.

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