Gaspacho Soup

How's your kitchen economy? After taking an accounting of food costs, I decided to pause, head back to my cookbook library for wisdom, wit and simple, fresh meals. To begin, who better than MFK Fisher and her simple Gaspacho Soup–cooking with grace and economy.

Adapted from How to Cook a Wolf by MFK Fisher, 1942

Serves 2-4

1 large handful fresh herbs, mixed (such as chives, basil, parsley, cilantro, tarragon)
1 large clove of garlic, chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded
1 small red bell pepper, seeded
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 small red onion, sliced very thin
1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Place the herbs and garlic in a food processor, pulse until chopped. Add the tomatoes and red pepper, pulse on and off for about 20 seconds. With the machine running add the oil, lemon juice and vinegar; process just until well blended. Remove the mixture from processor and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add about 1-1 1/2 cups cold water. (I begin with 1 cup, then adjust as needed) Add onion, cucumber and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, stir and chill until very cold, at least 4 hours prior to serving. Serve with thick slices of bread brushed with olive oil and toasted.

COOK'S NOTES: Use a collection of your favorite herbs, but only fresh. Overripe tomatoes can often purchased at a fraction of the price. Adjust the taste and thickness of the soup to suit your taste; the recipe is a great starting point for this simple soup.