For my birthday this year, I treated myself to a subscription to Cooking Light magazine. I'm always on the lookout for healthy, tasty recipes and I love the idea of a magazine full of them, cover to cover! Well, after two months of waiting, I FINALLY got my first issue. In fact, I got my first TWO issues within a matter of days. I'm still winding my way through them, and have lots I want to try but the one that jumped out at me right away was for a grilled vegetable gazpacho. The weather here in Northern California hasn't been particularly hot, but a cold soup still sounded great. So this recipe is inspired by one from the July 2011 issue of Cooking Light.
Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho
Makes 5-6 servings
3 large ripe tomatoes, sliced in half
1 onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1/4 cup olive oil
2 slices French bread
1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow)
1 jalapeño pepper
juice of 1 lemon
fresh ground black pepper
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 2 stalks)
3 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
Preheat grill to medium high. Brush cut sides of tomato, slices of onion and French bread with olive oil. Grill bread until toasted on both sides. Place peppers on grill and grill until blistered, turning as needed. Place onions on grill and grill for 10 minutes each side. Add the tomatoes to the grill, cut side down, after flipping the onions. Remove seeds from peppers (leave the jalapeño seeds if you want extra kick.)
In a blender, combine bread, grilled vegetables, two tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, half of the lemon juice and garlic. Puree until smooth. Add a little water if the soup is too thick.
Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, remaining lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt, sliced cucumbers, scallions and cilantro.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with a scoop of cucumber mixture.
Although traditionally a cold soup, this gazpacho is great served either hot OR cold. It can be made a day or two in advance and chilled until ready to serve.