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The thing is… I never liked tomatoes as a kid. Or cucumbers. Or bell peppers. I also didn’t like spicy things. Something about the self-inflicted pain of hot peppers put me off. I must have been in my teens before I tried actual HOT wings and well into my twenties before I gave all of my most hated vegetables another try. So, up until rather recently, gazpacho never sounded appetizing. And even after years of eating tomatoes and cucumbers and bell peppers, I was terrified of giving it a try. I think the idea of cold soup made me cringe as well. It just sounded like someone was too lazy to heat up last night’s leftovers, not like they made something that would actually be delicious.
My daughter obviously gets her picky eating habits honestly.
But lately, I’ve been craving soup. I find this an odd craving in high Summer, but I have been longing for the comfort of slurping something off of a spoon. Maybe it’s because I’m so physically tired or because I’m mentally exhausted, or maybe it’s the rain. Maybe it’s all of those things, but all I know is my body wants soup. Therefore, it’s soup I get.
Spicy Shrimp Gazpacho might be the most brilliant Summer dish ever. It’s a showcase for Summer produce. Don’t get your veggies for this at the store, get them from your neighbor’s garden, from your garden, or from your local farmer’s market. And if you are like me and you put up your own tomatoes, pull out a quart of those and make your own tomato juice out of them. If not, find yourself a really good quality canned tomato like Cento San Marzano or Muir Glen tomatoes. Otherwise, go for the tomato juice of your choice. And eat as much of this as you like, it’s practically guilt-free.
- 1 quart of good quality canned whole tomatoes or 2 ½ cups tomato juice
- 2 inch medium ripe tomatoes chopped into ¼ pieces
- 1 inch red or yellow bell pepper seeded and chopped into ¼ pieces
- 1 inch small cucumber seeded and chopped into ¼ pieces
- ¼ cup minced sweet onion or shallot such as Vidalia
- 2 T red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Salt and pepper
- 1 t . Sriracha sauce or ½ t. hot sauce optional
- 1 pound small shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 avocado removed from skin and cubed
- Extra virgin olive oil for serving
- In a blender, liquefy the canned tomatoes and pour through a fine mesh strainer and into a large bowl to remove the seeds and skins. Discard solids and set aside the bowl of juice.
- In another bowl, toss together the tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic, vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to release some liquid.
- Stir the Sriracha sauce into the tomato juice then add in the vegetables. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours and up to 2 days.
- Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water and cook the shrimp until they turn pink and curl into a tight circle. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Chill.
- To serve: Ladle soup into the serving bowls, top with chilled shrimp and diced avocado and drizzle lightly with olive oil.