Le Club 55's Gazpacho Vincent

Most versions of gazpacho in California are chunky-style.   They consist of a pureed  tomato soup mixed with finely chopped onions, cucumbers and peppers.  This recipe is very different!  All the ingredients are processed in a blender to produce a smooth and delicate summer soup.  It's seasoned with finely chopped fresh mint and a generous dash of Tabasco.  The preparation is very easy, but the secret is getting the right balance of ingredients so the gazpacho sparkles. Credit for this recipe goes to Vincent, a chef at Le Club 55's lunch restaurant at foot of Blvd. Patch on the Pampelonne Beach in Ramatuelle, near St.-Tropez (France).

vincent.jpg (12944 bytes)Vincent's generous use of Tabasco, which gives his version a subtle kick, comes from his Tunisian ancestry. The hand-written recipe that Vincent gave me was for a restaurant-sized batch of 40 servings. He only listed the ingredients and didn't include any instructions.  So I've adapted the recipe to serve 8-10 and included my interpretation of how he would prepare the soup.  The end result comes very close to Vincent's version.  But nothing can compare to sipping cool spoonfuls of his version under the tamarisk trees at Le Club 55.

Ingredients:

1 kg. very ripe, fresh tomatoes (use juicy tomatoes -- not Romas)
1 kg. fresh, red bell peppers
1 1/2 average-size cucumbers
1/2 bunch fresh mint leaves (remove leaves from woody stems)
2 small young white onions
2 cloves of garlic
6 oz. can of tomato paste
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS salt
Tabasco (to taste)
1/2 baguette
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Balsamic
vinegar

Preparation:

Making the Gazpacho:

Serving:

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