Cooking with Jonathan By Jonathan Jolicoeur

In this weekly culinary column, I will be focusing on one dish – giving the reader a quick history of the dish, the classical preparation of it, and of course, my own spin on the classic.

This week I have chosen to cover gazpacho – a cold soup made of raw vegetables which typically has a tomato base. Gazpacho originated in Southern Spain in the Region of Andalusia. There are many variations to the traditional recipe, the most common of which omit tomato and bread. The most common substitutions are avocado, watermelon, cucumber or grapes. The textures of gazpacho vary, as much as the bases do. Each different base will give your soup a texture not typical of traditional gazpacho.

Traditional Gazpacho Recipe

2 lbs​Tomatoes, ripe, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
2 slices​White bread, crust removed, coarsely chopped
2 whole​Cucumbers, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
½ whole​Red onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves​Garlic, minced
1 whole​Green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
6 tbsp​Extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp​Red wine vinegar
to taste​Salt, freshly cracked black pepper

Soak the bread in the vinegar – then gently remove the bread and squeeze out the excess liquid. Place a medium sauce pot full of water over medium-high heat and allow to boil. While waiting for water to boil, take your tomatoes and make a small x on the bottom with a small knife. Place your tomatoes into the boiling water for 1 minute to allow the skins to peel off easily. Cut tomatoes in half and proceed to seed. Once seeded, place your tomatoes, bread, ½ the cucumber, ½ the onion, ½ the pepper and all the garlic into a blender. Blend until all ingredients are incorporated. Remove from the blender and place in a large non-metallic bowl. Add your remaining chopped vegetables. Then stir in your olive oil and vinegar. Season to taste and serve once chilled.

Jonathan’s Gazpacho Recipe

2 lbs​Cucumbers, peeled, coarsely chopped
2 slices​White bread, crust removed, coarsely chopped
1 whole​Jalapeno, seeded, minced
1 clove​Garlic, minced
3 tbsp​Lime juice
½ cup​Mint, chopped
½ cup​Yogurt
2 tbsp​White balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp​Extra virgin olive oil
1 whole​Yellow pepper, coarsely chopped
1 whole​Red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 whole​Green pepper, coarsely chopped
to taste​Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Soak the bread in the vinegar – then gently remove the bread and squeeze out the excess liquid. Place the bread into the blender. Seed the cucumber and add the seeds to the blender. Coarsely chop cucumber and set aside in a metal bowl. Mince the garlic and jalapeno and add to your bowl. Juice your limes and add the liquid to the blender, as well as your yogurt. Coarsely chop your peppers and place into your bowl. Add ¾ of the ingredients in the bowl to the blender and blend until smooth. Slowly drizzle in your remaining vinegar and olive oil. Pour gazpacho back over remaining ingredients and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Serve chilled.

Whether you choose to prepare the classic, my twist or your own interpretation, remember that food is about bringing people together and that the act of cooking is about caring and as long as your heart is in the dish you prepare, the people you are cooking for will appreciate it (and you).

If you have any questions for me or would like to see me cover any particular dish in this column, feel free to write me, care of this publication. From my kitchen to yours, it is my pleasure to give you a peek into the mind of a chef. Thank You

Jonathan Jolicoeur is a chef at A Tavola – an Italian restaurant on Church Street in Winchester – which focuses on “farm to table” style of cooking. Jonathan was born in Somerville, lives in Woburn and has a degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

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