The tragedy is two-fold. First is that our tomato crop utterly failed this year. No wait: we got 6 cherry tomatoes. Second is that I inadvertantly opened three cans of tomatoes, which could get moldy, especially because we're going away soon and don't know if Frugal Son will think to use them.
Ah ha! Pam Anderson, a clever cookbook writer, discovered that you could make gazpacho with canned tomatoes.
* 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (I use Hunt's Petite Diced)
* 1/2 cup water
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch dice
* 1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
* 1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
* 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
* 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
* 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, basil or cilantro
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Process 1/2 cup of tomatoes, along with the water and oil, in a blender or food processor until pureed. Transfer to a medium bowl, along with remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Can be made several hours before serving.)
Needless to say, I didn't follow this exactly. I remember well my first gazpacho: I made it, along with my first quiche, for a fellow I liked who was off to grad school at Yale (1974). I had no idea what became of him till I read a book called French Lessons, picked up at Habitat for Humanity, and discovered him in the acknowledgment section. Then I discovered him in the book itself, under a pseudonym. Talk about weird!
My first gazpacho--and many recipes I've seen since--call for V8 or canned tomato juice. It's taken me a long time to wise up, but I now realize that Spanish peasants and others did not run to the grocery for canned juice when they wanted to make gazpacho. I also read that gazpacho may be of the class of recipes that were developed to use up stale bread. Food of the poor, once more. My first gazpacho was thickened with raw egg (!!), which makes it a retro recipe indeed. It was also topped with croutons (I fried them in garlic and oil--a labor of love). The croutons are, no doubt, an upscale version of the fried bread of earlier days.
So...if you can't get decent fresh tomatoes, try canned. What liberation. Thanks Pam Anderson.