Summer Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho topped with Grilled Shrimp and Basil
A bounty of heirloom tomatoes + 110 degree temperatures = GAZPACHO TIME!
No self-respecting Phoenician cook wants to turn the oven on in the kitchen when the outside is blazing. One way to keep meal planning cool is to toss up salads, but sometimes I still have the urge to slurp a soup.
This gazpacho is just the perfect bowl to serve for a hearty healthy dinner or simple lunch. The layers of spicy flavors from the pimento pepper, jalapeños, garlic, shallots, Cayenne and smoked Spanish sweet paprika balanced against the cooling cucumber, cilantro, basil and olive oil makes the sweetest taste of summer in your boca (mouth).
After you bite through the succulent grilled shrimp drizzled with lemon olive oil at the top, you’ll be lifting the bowl for a bottoms up to let every last drop of gazpacho make its way down to your blissful belly.
BTW - the world of “gazpacho” is more complicated than I imagined. From the origin of the word and the many regional ways it is made, you could literally make a different gazpacho recipe for a month and not repeat the same one. It is generally accepted that gazpacho is a dish from Spain with origins rooted from the Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Moors who occupied the Andalusian region.
It started as a humble gruel made from bits of bread ground with olive oil for the workers in the fields. When tomatoes were discovered in the New World and brought back to Spain, they were added to mix to make a closer version of the gazpacho we eat today. There is a white version, Ajoblanco, made from garlic, grapes, almonds and bread from Málaga/Granada, and the creamy, Salmorejo, from Córdoba topped with sherry vinegar, Serrano ham and chopped hard-boiled egg - there is even a warmed version. Since I live in the Southwest, this more traditional recipe from Seville will have a nod to my regional flavors with a few surprise twists!
Let’s talk about the ingredients!
Use tomatoes that are at their peak of ripeness, sweet and juicy! I harvested Camp Joy, Gooseberry, Indigo Apple, Cherokee Purple and Porter’s Pride from my little garden by the lake. If you’re not a gardener, no worries! Your local growers will have bumper crops of beauties for you to buy at your local farmer’s market. Frank Martin, Maya Dailey and Billy Anthony are all great growers here in Phoenix who I would recommend buying from!
Cucumber is one of the flavors that I love in gazpacho. I grew and used striped Armenian cucumbers for this recipe. Persian or English cucumbers work well as a substitute too!
One of the twists I use is Prickly Pear Balsamic Vinegar instead of the traditional Sherry Vinegar. I go to Native Seed Search in Tucson to buy it along with my other native provisions. The good news is they sell it online, so you can buy it no matter where you live!
An unusual layer of flavor comes from a garnish of delicate white leek flowers from the giant allium spheres. I grow the leeks just for the flowers and love to use them in salads too.
The addition of grilled shrimp makes the gazpacho filling for dinner. You might think getting access to good shrimp is a challenge in the Sonoran desert, however, we live only 200 miles from one of the shrimp capitals of Mexico! Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) is a thriving fishing community along the Sea of Cortez only 3.5 hours from Phoenix. We bring back pounds of it when we visit, but that still isn’t enough to supply me through the year. I’m so glad Chula Seafood sells shrimp from Rocky Point so I can grab some when I need it without a trip down south. They’re always big, fresh and juicy.
As they say “De gazpacho no hay empacho”--there’s never too much gazpacho! What I love best about this recipe is that you can make it in advance, it packs well for picnics and even serves up easy out on a boat, like I did on a trip to Lake Powell recently.
Eat well my friends! Happy summer xoxoxo
Summer Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho topped with Grilled Shrimp and Basil
Serves 4 (small) or 2 (medium) bowls
Low Carb, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, and Paleo Friendly
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Recommend using organic, local and fresh harvested ingredients whenever possible. Support your local growers by shopping from the Farmer’s Markets in your community.
I N G R E D I E N T S
For the Shrimp
1 pound raw shrimp
1/2 fresh lemon for juice
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. I use Meyer Lemon Olive Oil from Queen Creek Olive Mill
1/2 - 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish sweet paprika from Oaktown Spice Shop
1/2 teaspoon cayenne red pepper powder from Oaktown Spice Shop
dash of Kosher or sea salt and a few grinds of freshly cracked rainbow peppercorns
For the Gazpacho
3.5 pounds ripe, stemmed tomatoes. Use heirlooms if available!
1 red pimento or bell pepper diced, seeds, veins and stem removed
1 large striped Armenian, English or 3 small Persian cucumbers, seeds removed. Removed skin from the English cucumber.
2 large diced shallots, skin removed and root cut off
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin or lemon)
2-3 slices of jarred Hot & Sweet jalapeño slices from Trader Joe’s or 1 fresh jalapeño, seeds, veins and stem removed. Use as little as much as you want for desired heat.
1/2 - 1 teaspoon agave nectar (optional - I like the subtle sweetness against the acid of the tomatoes)
a few sprigs of cilantro and sweet basil. I used Aromatto basil.
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground rainbow pepper
1-2 diced avocados for garnish
diced cucumber, shallot, and red pimento or bell pepper from above reserved for garnish
1/3 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
handful of colorful cherry tomatoes halved
sprigs of basil leaves and flowers and cilantro for garnish
small white leek flowers (optional)
I N S T R U C T I O N S
For the Grilled Shrimp
Peel and devein the shrimp. Rinse and pat dry.
Place the shrimp in a non-metallic bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl.
Toss the shrimp in the bowl to mix all together.
Marinate the shrimp for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Remove the shrimp and grill on the BBQ or on a stovetop grill pan. Oil the BBQ or pan with olive oil. Gill 2-5 minutes per side, until the shrimp turns pink and is solid to the touch when pushed with a fork. Place on a plate to serve warm immediately or in the fridge for later.
Make the Gazpacho
Wash and dry all the vegetables.
In a high speed blender, add the tomatoes (working in batches). Cut the larger tomatoes in half. Blend about 1 minute until the tomatoes are broken down.
Strain each batch through a fine sieve strainer set over a bowl to catch the juice. I use a refried bean masher (see the picture below) to push the juice through the strainer - the back of a wood spoon can do the job too! You should have clear tomato juice in the bowl and a pulp like substance left behind in the strainer. Toss the pulp and seeds out after straining each batch.
Add all the strained tomato juice back into the blender. Add in 1 chopped shallot, 1/2 of the diced red pepper, 1/2 of the diced cucumber, all of the garlic, jalapeño, cilantro/basil sprigs, olive oil, balsamic or sherry vinegar, agave nectar, salt, and pepper. Blend on high speed until combined about one minute.
Pour into a bowl. Taste and make any adjustments to add more seasonings to your taste.
Ladle into bowls. Distribute the remaining diced shallots, cucumbers, and peppers into the bowls. Top with the grilled shrimp.
Garnish with avocado, leek flowers, sprigs of basil, basil flowers, cherry tomatoes halves. Then finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.
Hail to the Bliss in Your Belly!