Spanish Gazpacho and Panzanella

Tomatoes are appearing!

Rich in Vitamins A and C, and low in sodium, tomatoes have consistently topped many food studies with their cancer prevention properties, due to high lycopene, the chemical that makes the tomato RED. They brighten any dish with their many colors, especially the heirloom tomato. Check out Wikipedia for the zany names such as Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter, Black Krim and Big Rainbow.

We love them in sauces, and salads of course, and dried for toppings, but I thought to highlight them in a great gazpacho and a tomato bread salad which is all about the Tomato! And as we know, there is nothing like summer for the best tomatoes.

Spanish Gazpacho (serves 6-8)

(blended, and vegetarian) from my friend Karen Apple who spent her childhood years in Spain

8-10 medium tomatoes, ripe and firm

1 green pepper, chopped course, seeded and membrane removed

2 large cucumbers, chopped course, skinned

1 medium yellow onion, chopped course

2 cloves garlic

½ cup tomato juice

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

4 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Place everything but salt and pepper in blender and blend only until big chunks are gone (may have to be done in batches), add salt and pepper at the end to taste!  Serve well chilled with homemade croutons and a little chopped Parsley or Cilantro on top. Simple and elegant, especially if served in a big martini glass or clear bowl to show off its color.

Panzanella

(bread and tomato salad)

Serves 8

2 lbs. tomatoes, cored and cut into small wedges

12 oz. country style bread, torn into bite-size pieces and lightly toasted

1 cup loosely packed baby arugula

12 fresh basil leaves

½ red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, bread, arugula, basil and onions.  In a small bowl, vigorously whisk together the oil, vinegar, and garlic; drizzle dressing over salad. Season with the salt and pepper, toss to combine and sit sit for 10 minutes before serving.


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