The results, shown above, were brilliant (if we say so ourselves): it's a cool, spicy, and extremely "more-ish" gazpacho. And it's quite substantial--certainly it's filling enough to be a main course at lunch. If you're making it as an appetizer, we wouldn't recommend serving enormous bowls, or guests won't have room for your other dishes.
We will also mention that this is (obviously) a wonderfully healthy and reasonably low-fat, low-calorie dish. Enjoy!
4 slices of a large Vidalia onion
4 pounds of 3 Boys Farm heirloom tomatoes (we like a blend of traditional red and a few Sungold cherry tomatoes tossed in for extra sweetness) coarsely chopped
6 fat garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
About 1 cup of 3 Boys Farm basil leaves, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons lemon-infused olive oil (plus a bit more for sautéing the garlic)
3 tablespoons Champagne or white-wine vinegar
1 heaping teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
A scant 1/2 cup ice water (to thin the soup a little)
Fresh black pepper (have the pepper mill handy)
1 cup of very finely chopped cucumber
1 cup very finely chopped green bell pepper (we like the dice quite small, as you can see in the photo)
Optional: crispy plantain chips--vertically sliced, if possible--for garnish (they're available in the Latino section of most Florida supermarkets)
Put the onion slices in a bowl, cover them with some cold water, and add a few drops of vinegar. Let them sit for five minutes, then drain and rinse them with cold water. Cut into smaller pieces.
Sauté the garlic in a little oil over very low heat until it's soft and caramelized. Don't allow it to brown! Set aside to cool.
Then combine the tomatoes, cooled sautéed garlic (along with its oil), onion, the four tablespoons of lemon olive oil and three of vinegar; the paprika, ice water, and a good pinch of salt in a blender. Puree everything until it's smooth (unless you have an enormous blender, you'll probably need to divide everything up and do this in two batches). Add the basil leaves and puree until they appear as finely distributed throughout the soup as you wish (we like to see fine but visible green specks). If you've done two batches, as we did, now combine the two purees in a large glass bowl and mix well. Taste your puree and then add some ground pepper and more salt, if necessary (don't overdo the salt, of course). Cover and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours to allow the flavors to blend.
Toss the chopped cucumber and green pepper together in a plastic storage bowl. Season this, too, with a little salt and pepper, and refrigerate.
When you're ready to serve the gazpacho, ladle it into chilled bowls, then place a couple of heaping spoonfuls of the chopped cucumber/green-pepper mix in the middle. Arrange one or two plantain chips on top. Yield: approximately six main course-sized or eight generous appetizer-sized servings.