Friday, August 24, 2012

Secret Ingredient Gazpacho


1 can whole tomatoes in juice
about 3lb fresh tomatoes
1/2 medium onion
1 clove fresh garlic
1 large green jalapeno pepper, seeds & ribs removed
1 whole red pepper
2 cucumbers
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 green pepper
1/2 tsp roasted garlic chips
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp minced fresh tarragon
2 tsp minced fresh mint
1 T minced fresh thyme
3 T minced fresh parsley
1 tsp black pepper

some salt

1 T Secret Ingredient!*

This makes around a gallon of soup. In a blender, puree all the tomatoes, the onion, the jalapeno, the garlic, one of the cukes, and 1/2 of the red bell pepper, along with the spices & juice.

Mince the herbs by hand or they will turn onto green mush and discolor the soup. Dice the remaining cucumber and bell peppers, and stir everything together.

* This is where the secret ingredient comes in.

Add only about 2/3 the amount of salt you want, and then add either 1 tablespoon of thai fish sauce or 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce. If you use soy, it has to say it's dark soy sauce, or it won't be the right kind.

Since both dark soy and fish sauce are basically liquid salt, why not just use salt? Because even though tomatoes, garlic & onions taste delicious together, they do not have that special, mouth filling, savory taste unless they are cooked. By definition, gazpacho is not cooked. Even cheating a bit with a can of tomatoes doesn't quite do it. Therefore, you need something rotten, or at least, powerfully fermented. Either sauce will perfectly round out the flavor of the soup.

The difference between soy & fish is subtle; personally I like the soy better, except for the fact that it does change the color of the soup slightly. Fish sauce keeps the appearance of the gazpacho the same, but I think it's a little less fruity or something. It's your call. If you can't decide, you can do what I did and add about 1 drop of either secret ingredient to individual servings to perform a taste test before flavoring the whole batch.

I like to eat mine with avocado and a dab of yogurt, because why leave well enough alone?

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