This week, I was given the gift of a field-fresh strawberry. It was sitting in the sun, a pop of red amidst a miniature jungle of large green leaves, and (with permission, of course), I grabbed my treasure and headed back. I announced to the world that I had found the perfect strawberry and I bit in: sunshine-warm, sweet, and somehow the flavor of red. I wasn’t wrong, it was the perfect strawberry. I still find myself thinking about that strawberry, wondering if it still thinks about me.
So, we’ve established that local strawberries are perfect as they are, no tampering with needed. But let’s say you’ve been to the market, and couldn’t help but pick up almost too many of these early Summer treats. Here’s a recipe to take advantage of your strawberry bounty — a cold, refreshing cold soup for a sweltering evening.
Gazpacho is usually made with tomatoes, but I was inspired by a recipe in Bread is Gold by Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park (the book is written by Massimo Bottura.) He replaced the original gazpacho recipe using over-ripe tomatoes with strawberries, and I’ve adapted my recipe from that one.
- Those bread ends you don’t know what to do with, medium to large dice (if the crust is very thick, cut it off and use only the soft inside bread)
- 2 (medium) cucumbers, peeled and diced
- 1.5 pounds of strawberries, halved
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- As much basil as you can find
- A few extra strawberries for slicing
- Your best olive oil for drizzling
- In a large bowl, place all of your ingredients together and toss together. Cover in your reusable bee’s wax food wrap, and leave in the fridge overnight.
- Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. I prefer a texture to my gazpacho, but you can also press through a sieve if you’d rather have a finer mouthfeel.
- Chiffonade your basil. Slice your additional strawberries.
- Place your gazpacho into a chilled bowl, and garnish with a “nest” of basil, and the strawberry slices, as well as a drizzle of your favorite olive oil.
Claire Butler is the Communications and Outreach Intern for Taste the Local Difference. She is a current culinary student at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute. Contact her at [email protected]