Charlie Abowd: Spice up gazpacho with some heirloom tomatoes
September 19, 2012
Visiting our farmers market at Third and Curry streets each Saturday is one of the happy spots in my week. Knowing our local growers and how much care and love they have put into growing and harvesting the goods they bring each week inspires me to present their gifts in my menu at Caf at Adele’s and at home.There also are many folks out there who have taken up gardening and may be wondering what to do with the bountiful crop of tomatoes we have seen this year.Using the best ingredients always yields beautiful and healthy dishes. One of my seasonal favorites is my mom’s gazpacho recipe. While there are many kinds of tomatoes, I prefer using Heirlooms for this. A few home- or farm-grown peppers can be added to give it a little kick.While we’re discussing the market, I would like to encourage each of you to visit Linda Marrone’s booth and bid on a dinner for six at Caf at Adele’s. The proceeds will help the Holley family, local growers whose son Daniel was involved in an accident on Highway 50 a few weeks ago. Daniel is at UC Davis’ burn unit and the family is dealing with incredible challenges. The meal will feature locally sourced meat, fish and produce paired with wines served by our staff. Together, we can all do our part to make a difference. Bids also can be placed at the restaurant or by calling 775-882-3353.Now back to the kitchen!Adele’s GazpachoYields six quarts; about 14 servingsPreparation: You will need 4 quarts of tomatoes, chopped and seeded, so approximately 10 four-inch tomatoes; adjust if using a smaller variety. I prefer organically-grown heirloom tomatoes, but Beefsteak or Roma will also work. Blanch 8 to 10 minutes, until skins look like they’re falling off and then place them in cold water momentarily. This is called shocking, where the temperature changes rapidly from hot to cold. Drain.1 cup chopped and seeded cucumber1 cup chopped sweet onion1⁄4 cup Anaheim pepper (you can also use pasilla or jalapeo peppers, depending on the degree of spiciness you prefer)1⁄2 cup roughly chopped king or queen-sized pimento-stuffed green olives10 roughly chopped garlic cloves (approximately 2 tablespoons)1⁄4 cup Spanish sherry vinegar1⁄4 cup dry sherry winePlace all ingredients in a bowl and mix gently together. One portion at a time (there will be about four portions total), run ingredients through your food processor until fully pureed or adjust to meet your own taste. Personally, I like my gazpacho in between.Season to taste using fine sea salt and fresh, ground pepper.I like to serve it warm or kicked up by adding a bit of chili sauce. Keep in mind the peppers in the gazpacho will heat up. You may want to let the flavors bloom a bit before adding chili sauce.• Chef Charlie Abowd co-owns Caf at Adele’s with his wife Karen. For more information, visit http://www.adelesrestaurantandlounge.com.