Summer Saturday Lunch: Gazpacho, and Poached Eggs Over Potato-Green Pepper Pancakes
Have I got a gazpacho recipe for you. This version is smooth and creamy (without cream), made crunchy with a garnish of minced cucumber, green pepper, tomato, and croutons. Serve it icy cold for summer in a bowl.
Or cup – sip it while you fry a few potato pancakes, poach a few eggs. That’s what I did, while John worked on his 9,500-song – no lie – iTunes library and read me raves from the newspaper. I cook, he sits with me, that’s our thing.
I picked up the tomatoes and cucumber at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market yesterday. Real garden gazpacho. Nice. I plan to sip more later for an afternoon snack. It’s light yet filling, perfect for a hot, sunny Saturday.
Or ooh, pour the gazpacho into a thermos and take it for a bike ride-picnic, with good bread and cheese, cold white wine, and fresh cherries or berries. Damn, I wish I were doing exactly that right now.
But then I would have missed making the second course… I know, I know, yet another poached egg dish, sorry for the redundancy. But poached eggs are so easy and delicious, I can’t help myself. They just make everything special. Agree?
What are your plans for Independence Day? We’re having our Annual Super Duper Shubert Coopster 4th of July Celebration, including my sister Stacey, and hoping it won’t rain all day so we can be in and around the pool. I’m making the no-fail pork ribs and crunchy, creamy coleslaw I posted on Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly magazine blog, as well as mini-burgers and boiled new potatoes with olive oil, garlic, parsley, and preserved lemon.
Andalusian Garden Gazpacho
Adapted from www.latimes.com
Author’s note: the gazpacho should be the consistency of light cream. If it is to be served for sipping, thin with additional cold water. Lemon juice can be a substituted for the vinegar.
Stephanie’s note: I used both a food processor and blender – food processor to puree the bread and tomatoes, blender to puree the gazpacho itself so it would be as smooth and creamy as possible.
4 slices bread, crusts removed (4 oz.); plus 2 slices bread, diced and fried in a little olive oil (for garnish), divided (Stephanie’s note: I used the bread crusts to make the croutons)
5 tomatoes (2 lbs.), cored and roughly chopped; plus 1 small tomato, finely chopped (for garnish)
1/2 green pepper, cored and roughly chopped; plus extra finely chopped (for garnish), divided
1/2 cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped; plus extra finely chopped (for garnish), divided
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 c. ice cold water
Break the 4 slices bread into chunks and soak it in water to cover until softened. Squeeze the water from the bread and place it in a food processor with the garlic. Process until smooth. Transfer to the bowl of a blender.
Without washing the food processor, add the chopped tomatoes and process until smooth. Press the tomato juice and pulp through a sieve or colander, discarding the skin and seeds. Add the tomato juice and pulp to the blender.
Add the green pepper, cumin, and salt to the bread and tomatoes in the blender. With the blender running, add the oil in a slow stream. Blend in the vinegar and some of the cold water. Transfer the gazpacho to a large pitcher and stir in the remaining water. Serve immediately or chill until serving time. (Stephanie’s note: I like to leave a couple of hours for it to chill and for the flavors to blend. It’s best icy cold.)
To serve, pour the gazpacho into individual bowls. Place each of the garnishes (finely chopped green pepper, cucumber, tomato, and crispy bread) in small bowls. Pass the garnishes with the gazpacho and allow guests to serve themselves.
Poached Eggs Over Potato-Green Pepper Pancakes
1/2 c. safflower, canola, peanut, or other high-heat oil
1 large russet potato, peeled and shredded
1/2 green pepper, shredded
1 large shallot, peeled and shredded
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
Set a saucepan 1/2 filled with salted water on to boil.
Heat oil in a large (preferably nonstick) skillet over medium-high. While the oil heats, stir together the potatoes, green pepper, shallot, flour, and salt. When the oil is hot, drop 2 or 3 large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the oil. Use a spatula to flatten and spread the potatoes a bit, into pancake shapes. Fry until golden brown, then turn pancakes over and brown on the other side. Drain on paper towels. Fry remaining pancakes; drain. Place one or two pancakes on each plate.
The water will likely boil as you’re frying pancakes, which is great. Turn heat down so that the water is barely simmering – small bubbles should barely break the surface. As soon as you’re done frying the pancakes, crack one egg into a small dish and slide it into the water. Quickly do the same with the second egg. Set the timer for 3 minutes. The eggs whites will look shredded, but that’s OK. When the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to scoop one egg out of the water. Tilt the spoon so the water drains completely off, then place the egg on top of one of the plates of hot potato pancakes. Repeat with the second egg and second plate of pancakes. Top eggs with a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of black pepper each. Serve immediately.