For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

About Me...

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Cherry-Basil Gazpacho Recipe

When life hands you a bowl full of organic cherries, there's only one thing to do: make gazpacho.

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. 


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 1: Wash all of your produce and get out your cherry/olive pitter. If you don't have one of these useful kitchen contraptions, you will need to get one in order to make this divine recipe. Although pitting cherries is a messy and laborious task, it is so worth the effort. Once you've pitted the cherries, cut them in half and place in a large glass bowl. 
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 flavorsperfect for a refreshing warm weather meal.
Dig into everything summer has to offer. 

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