If you want to impress with your cooking, there are a few simple techniques you can use to boost the flavors and depth of your dishes and easily elevate them to restaurant quality. One is grilling and another is pickling. In our take on gazpacho we use both.
This recipe makes a great party starter. Serve them in bowls or in shot glasses for a passable appetizer. And because it’s served cold, it’s easy to make ahead and assemble at go-time.Difficulty: Easy Time Intensity: Medium Low (pickling and chilling time) Equipment needed: Grill, Blender/Immersion Blender/or Food Processor
- 1 cucumber, halved horizontally, skin on, but seeds scooped out
- 5 tomatoes left whole, unpeeled
- 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
- 5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1 medium red onion, unpeeled
- 1/3 c. olive oil
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 2 tbsp cilantro leaves (optional)
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 2.5 ounces crab meat (we used jumbo lump), picked over for shells
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 avocado, cubed
- Leaves from 1 bunch celery
- Cilantro oil (recipe below)
Cilantro oil (optional):
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- 1/4 c. cilantro
- A few hours before you plan to make the gazpacho, place the crab in the sherry-water pickling liquid. Allow it to marinate in the refrigerator until ready for use.
- Heat the grill to medium and add the cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers and red onion. Wrap the garlic cloves in foil and add to the grill also.
- Grill for about 10-15 minutes, flipping once. You want grill marks, but you don’t want the vegetables to be completely soft. That way you’ll still get a little bite from the onion. Aim for a happy medium.
- While the veggies are grilling, blend the ingredients for the cilantro oil in a food processor. You can add the oil to a squeeze bottle to use to garnish, but make sure the opening is large enough for the small pieces of cilantro to pass through so that the bottle doesn’t clog. (Alternately, you can just use a spoon to drizzle the oil on top.)
- Once the veggies come off the grill, add them to a food processor, blender or immersion blender to chop them up. Start with the tomatoes. Peel the charred skin from the onion and cut in quarters before adding and squeeze the roasted garlic from the skins.
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend. Just note that our gazpacho is a less chunky version than some. You can blend it less if you like it chunkier.
- Chill gazpacho.
- To serve, float a few celery leaves in the center of the soup and top those with drained crab.
- Garnish with avocado and cilantro oil.