Grilled vegetables and a nice glass of wine. A perfect summer menu for outdoor dining. If you can arrange an evening breeze, and no mosquitoes, you have a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience.
For our grilled vegetable gazpacho, we like to use tomatoes as the base. Next, we use a combination of yellow and green zucchini, sweet Vidalia onion, a whole clove of garlic, red peppers, and yellow or orange peppers.
An evening of roasted vegetables and grilled bread can be rolled over into a panzanella, like yesterday’s post, for dinner the next day.
Another delicious option is to make a tangy, roasted vegetable gazpacho. The guys love it, and it’s a vegetable bonanza, as far as getting them to up their vegetable servings. Gazpacho traditionally uses raw versions of the vegetables. In that case, you want to get the vegetables at their peak of freshness.
Our farmers’ market has baskets of vegetables, on the lowest shelf, that have gone past their prime. They have become spotty, or withered, and are not at their most visually desirable appearance anymore.
They’ve also been marked down in price. This is where the grilling process is most forgiving. These are the vegetables that will get a stay on the grill before they become part of our roasted vegetable gazpacho.
Gather the vegetables mentioned above. Slice your loaf of bread and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Coat vegetables with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.
Grill all vegetables except the head of garlic. Split down the middle and pour some olive oil on each end. Add a pinch of salt. Wrap in aluminum foil and place the pouch on a part of the grill where it’s not over a direct flame.
The garlic is done when the bulbs are soft. Allow everything to cool. The garlic will slide easily out of the papery skins. Slice vegetables into pieces. Cover with several cups of cold water. Place in the blender and puree in batches. The chunks of grilled bread will thicken the soup.
If the consistency is too thick, the soup can be thinned with a bit of water. Chop some chives and basil leaves and add to the soup. Season to taste and add a generous splash of sherry vinegar. You can find it in most markets. It’s the ingredient that gives gazpacho a distinctive taste.
Pour the soup in a non-reactive bowl and chill for several hours. Read what makes a bowl non-reactive here: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2013/04/what-is-nonreactive-reactive-cookware/
If you are preparing this for dinner tonight, the soup can go in the freezer for a good 45 minutes to an hour to speed up the chilling time.
If you want, hold back on some of the grilled bread.Slice some cubes of bread in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil and sliced garlic. Allow to cool and use the pieces as croutons to garnish. Top with some basil leaves. Take your top shelf extra virgin olive oil and circle the bowl with it to finish the soup.
The tangy notes of the sherry vinegar cut through the grilled vegetable flavors. The deep grilled flavor, in a chilled and refreshing soup, is a satisfying way to enjoy your summer vegetables on a steamy night.