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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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Want it Hot or Cold?

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What am I doing giving you a cold soup recipe in cold weather? Simply because you don't have to prepare it cold. It is just as delicious when you omit the ricotta and add 2 cups light or heavy cream and gently warm it over low heat, topped with a few flavored croutons.

Gazpacho is traditionally made never touching heat. A variety of vegetables are chopped then processed in a blender until fairly smooth and then served with stale bread. Although I find this satisfactory, it's not the texture I admire completely. I find that cooking a portion of the ingredients makes for a smoother and more flavored meal, if you can call it that. A great lunch though. I live this soup with a hot, grilled vegetable sandwich. Although neither contains meat, it truly is satisfying.

Sweet Pepper Gazpacho 

  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, optional
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese

Preheat broiler and set broiler pan 3 inches from heat source. Half and seed bell peppers. Line peppers skin side up a baking sheet. Place under broiler until black and blistered, about 4-5 minutes. Carefully remove peppers and place in a large resealable bag, sealing. Set in refrigerator for 15 minutes or so until cooled. Remove and under cold running water, rub the blackened skin off. It should come off readily. If not, don't worry about any remnants of blackened skin left, it only adds to the flavor.

Chop the peppers roughly; set aside. Place chopped onions in olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add chili pepper, salt and pepper, cook until onion is softened, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, carefully pour into a large bowl and let cool completely, uncovered, about an hour in refrigerator.

Meanwhile halve the tomatoes and scoop out seeds. Roughly chop and add to onion mixture along with bell peppers and vinegar. Put this in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, and process until smooth. Remove to bowl, cover and let set until serving time in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Place ricotta cheese in a bowl and either with a stand mixer or hand-held, beat the cheese until creamy; set aside.

Right before serving, add the maple syrup and mix it with the gazpacho. Divide the gazpacho among plates or bowls, garnish with dollop of whipped ricotta cheese, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Serves 4

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