Writer M.F.K. Fisher recommended gazpacho as an appetizer for a backyard barbecue because it’s a “legitimate and not too alcoholic way to keep your guests busy while you turn the steak… then you will find the appetites sharp and wits fairly clear, and a satisfying patina of conversation glimmering in the air.” It’s a lovely notion of a gathering. But then she goes on to say that gazpacho makes the world’s best hangover breakfast, so I’m not sure how successful she was in that endeavor.
Ice-cold gazpacho is a welcome end to a hot day, alone or with something off the grill. Recipes abound and vary widely. Mine has one special ingredient and one secret ingredient. The special one, obviously, is key lime. I think we can all agree that any time you might use lime, key lime is even better, right?
But this next one may invite some skeptics. My secret ingredient: fish broth. Now I will say that you can make a delicious gazpacho with vegetable broth or even water. If you use fish broth you’ll hardly know it’s there, other than it tastes better.
I make big pots of fish broth out of fish carcasses and then I freeze it. (One of these days I’ll post a recipe for it, but it doesn’t make for the most attractive photos.) You can also buy it at seafood markets if you don’t want to make your own. It’s magic in a bowl of gazpacho. Try it alongside grilled lobster or homemade corn tortillas.
Key Lime Gazpacho
- 2 handfuls of fresh herbs (one or a combination: basil, parsley, cilantro, marjoram, chives, etc.)
- juice of 2 key limes
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 3 cups fish broth
- 1 1/2 cups peeled and diced cucumber
- 1 cup diced bell or sweet pepper
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup sliced vidalia or sweet onion
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the herbs, key lime juice, garlic and salt. Turn the machine on and slowly drizzle in the olive oil through the top shoot (just as you would make a vinaigrette).
Take the lid off the food processor and use a spatula to scrape down the herb mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend for about 10 seconds. Taste it and adjust for salt. Continue blending for another 10 seconds or until only a few small chunks remain.
Refrigerate the gazpacho for at least two hours. Serve it with any or all of the following on top: sour cream, avocado, herbs, a dash of hot sauce or an extra squeeze of key lime.