GazpachoI started making Gazpacho when I lived in Southern California and it was possible to get pretty good vegetables in he spring. Of course, I soon discovered the hardest one to get was the key to the dish. A Gazpacho lives or dies on the freshness of it's ingredients and, as a result, grainy hothouse tomatoes or, worse, canned is simply not going to cut it.
Like ceviche or pico de gallo, the cooking process is achieved by allowing the acid from the tomato to mix all the tastes. But the trick of the dish is not allowing any of the ingredients to stand out over the others. So be patient with it and you will be well rewarded.
My friend Mark could never say the name of this dish without commenting: "Gazpacho! The most feared unit of the German army."
Combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, salt, vinegar, and pepper in a large (at least 4-quart) nonreactive bowl. Let stand until the vegetables just begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato juice, hot pepper sauce, if using, and ice cubes. Cover tightly and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.
Serve garnished with some extra vegetables set aside when preparing the ingredients for the Gazpacho itself. Also feel free to add croutons, olives, sliced hard-boiled eggs, and finely diced avocados.
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