With the second-hottest summer on record for North America officially over, it’s finally time to start looking ahead to falling leaves, trick-or-treaters and, in a weather-related twist, the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Especially these days, even as the calendar moves on, the heat of July and August continues to linger into September and beyond as does the late summer’s harvest of ripe, juicy tomatoes. Not necessarily ideal for consuming on a sandwich or in a salad due to their soft and gushy texture, the summer’s last tomatoes are perfectly suited to be rendered into the refreshing liquid salad that is gazpacho.
The OG chilled soup, gazpacho (which gets its name from an Arabic word for ”soaked bread”) hails from the province of Andalusia in southern Spain and was likely inspired by a dish that was brought there by either the Moors or the Romans. Kept in a pitcher in the refrigerator by many Spaniards in the way many Americans might store lemonade or iced tea, gazpacho recipes vary in Spain and include versions that are made with eggs, fish and even mayonnaise.
John Turnbull, the chef at MADRE in Greenpoint, had a more traditional version of gazpacho during a pre-pandemic trip to northern Spain, but it was memorable enough that the Brooklyn-born Temple University grad made a mental note to get it on a menu in the future.
“Everyone there has their own take on it. I remember having one in a small bistro and it just freaking blew my mind,” Turnbull, who got his start in the New York fine dining scene as a bicycle delivery driver in Manhattan, tells InsideHook. “It had this great texture and a really luscious mouthfeel you can only get by using really perfect tomatoes and ingredients. That was probably the first time I truly appreciated it.”
Madre, as the name suggests, has a Spanish influence so Turnbull’s gazpacho recipe slotted in perfectly as a summertime amuse-bouche that functions as an introduction to the meal that’s to come. “It’s something we love to serve because it’s really refreshing when you start your meal,” Turnbull says. “It’s also a way for us to minimize our waste and use any of the vegetables that are super sweet or we have too many of so nothing goes in the bin. That is super important for me. In addition to tomatoes, we’ll utilize cherries and raspberries. The ingredients are super ripe and fresh so we don’t need to add sugar or anything like that.”
But, you can pretty much add whatever you want as long as the tomatoes that serve as the base are high-quality. “Honestly, you can make it with just about anything and play with it a little to season it how you’d like,” Turnbull says. “You can do it with like cherry tomatoes, larger plum tomatoes and then there are a million varieties of heirlooms. If the ingredients taste good, you’re gonna get a great gazpacho. It’s a simple gazpacho recipe but it’s also just freaking delicious.”
John Turnbull’s Gazpacho
Prep Time: 12 hours (marinating)
Total Time: 5 minutes (after marinating)
- 1/4 Cup Shallot
- 2 Cup Red Bell Pepper – 1” DICE
- 6 Cup Overripe Tomato – 1” DICE – Reserve juice
- 1 Cup English cucumber peeled – DICED
- 1 Garlic Clove – MINCED
- 1 1/2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne
- 1 tbsp. White Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Raspberries/cherries
- 2 tbsp. Luxardo Cherries
- 10 Drops Tabasco
- 4 Sprigs Thyme
- Mix all ingredients together and let marinate overnight.
- Remove thyme sprigs and blend in small batches on the highest setting.
- Pass through a chinois.
- Place into the refrigerator and store for up to two days.
- To finish, pour 1 oz chilled gazpacho into a chilled cup.
- Optional to garnish with fennel pollen, chive oil, Marcona almond dust and dill flower.
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