Gazpacho with Homemade Croutons
"This is a hand-me-down recipe from my stepfather," Chris says. "He learned to make it from his 'mama' while studying abroad in Spain. It's a very easy-to-make dish that only requires fresh ingredients and a blender."
1 loaf (day old) bread, crust removed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tablespoon salt plus more to taste
Pepper to taste
12 plum tomatoes
2 bell peppers
2 garlic cloves
3 chili peppers (optional)
1 bunch cilantro
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups water
1/4 cup sherry (or red wine) vinegar
1. Roughly cut bread into one-inch pieces and place half on a tray. Drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste, and toast (broil in an oven) to make croutons. Watch closely to avoid burning.
2. Roughly chop the vegetables and cilantro and add about 3/4 of each into a large bowl with the remaining bread. The remaining vegetables can be set aside as condiments.
3. Add all wet ingredients and 1/4 tablespoon salt to the bowl and mix.
4. Add the mixed ingredients into a blender and puree. You may need to do this in batches. Return the blended mixture into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for one hour.
5. When ready, add the croutons and whatever condiments you like.