This past week I picked up a large bag of crimson beauties at the grocery store, not realizing they were destined for something special. But after visiting a local San Luis Obispo farmers market, where I purchased vibrant green basil, pungent shallots, a crooked young cucumber, freshly-harvested yellow and red tomatoes, as well as shiny purple and green bell peppers, I knew what I had to do: meld these seasonal flavors and colors of the rainbow.
The following chilled soup recipe is refreshing, bursting with summer flavors, requires little preparation, makes a superb meal or side dish, and is guaranteed to wow your family and friends.
Revel in the colors, the flavors, the season.
CHERRY-BASIL GAZPACHO RECIPE
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serves 2 - 4
1 1/2 cups pitted fresh cherries, halved
2 cups chopped cucumber
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cups chopped bell peppers
3 - 4 large basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons minced shallots
A few squeezes of fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
Salt & pepper to taste
|Step 2: Cut your cucumber and bell peppers into bite-sized chunks and throw them in with the cherries.|
|Step 3: Chop your ripened, juicy tomatoes and add them to the beautiful compote.|
|Step 4: Mince your shallots and place them in a small bowl. Add the olive oil, Sherry vinegar, lemon juice, and salt & pepper. Whisk vigorously, then taste and adjust for seasonings.|
|Step 5: Pour the dressing over the vibrant mixture and cover with torn basil leaves. Then get out your blender.|
|Step 6: Place 2 cups of the cherry-veggie mix in the blender and lightly puree. Add the cherry-stained puree back to the bowl, mix gently, cover and place in the fridge to chill for at least two hours, allowing the intense flavors to meld.|
|Step 7: Serve up this cold summer soup garnished with a bit of basil. If you desire a swig of wine as an accompaniment, pair with a crisp sauvignon blanc.|
|The sweetness of the cherries is offset by the tang of the acids and the spiciness of the basil, while each bite is full of cool textures and flavors—perfect for a refreshing warm weather meal.|
Dig into everything summer has to offer.