Serving a soup at a picnic might sound silly, but depending on the day, it could be the perfect thing! I recently served this chilled gazpacho style soup at a recent picnic in the Berkshires. It’s perfect for hot summer days and the flavor is enhanced while it’s stowed away in the cooler.
Recipe for Chilled Gazpacho (Serves 4-6 as an appetizer)
Ingredients for the soup:
- Appox. 2 lbs of sliced tomatoes
- 1 medium-sized sliced cucumber
- ¼ cup of red onion (of course add more if you really like onion)
- ½ cup of bell pepper (you pick the color – I used orange this time around)
- 1 corncob (slice off the kernels)
- Spices (This can be adjusted to taste, but I recommend: 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp of paprika and a healthy dose of salt and pepper)
- Orange blossom water (optional)
- Fresh basil
Ingredients for the garnish:
- Greek yogurt or sour cream (for garnish)
- More fresh basil
To serve on the side:
- Crusty bread (to serve on the side or for dipping into the finished soup)
A traditional gazpacho usually includes pieces of crusty bread in the soup. If you like that, feel free to add it. Personally, I love dipping my bread in the soup instead of adding it in, and I think the corn gives it that chunkier texture.
Making the soup at home
You want to form a good tomato juice base first for the soup so start by processing about half of your tomatoes (reserve the rest for the end) then add your quarter cup of onion. Remember to be careful with your food processor blade as you’re loading in the veggies and spices it’s super sharp!
Once you have a good base, go ahead and add in the cucumber and bell pepper next. Also add in some spices here. I noted above that I like to add one teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of paprika and a healthy dose of salt and pepper.
Next add the rest of your tomatoes that you were saving and the corn kernels. Be sure not to over-process here because it’s nice to have that texture in your soup too.
Packing up the soup to-go
A good gazpacho only gets better if you give it a couple of hours in a fridge or cooler. When transferring your bowls into containers, be sure to find a good covered one that is extremely sturdy. You don’t want any leaks in your fridge (or cooler). I used 4 individual anchor hocking company bowls because they were the perfect size for 4 of us to have a little bowl of soup each.
Pour the soup into each container, but allow some extra room at the top. Before stowing away in your fridge or cooler, add in a little chiffonaded basil and orange blossom water. (Orange blossom water is optional, but I learned this tip during a soup tasting demo at 80 Thoreau in Concord, MA. They add orange blossom water to their carrot soup recipe, which is delicious. I personally think it belongs in gazpacho too because it gives it a nice citrusy kick without adding vinegar. You can find orange blossom water in most large grocery stores in the middle eastern food aisle.
Also if you’re a fan of soup garnishes (like me) I strongly recommend packing an extra container with greek yogurt (or sour cream) and extra chiffonaded basil. When at the picnic, encourage each of your picnic guests to serve up a scoop in their bowl. The end result is a really refreshing appetizer on a hot summer day.
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