Luncheon Gazpacho

By Michelle Buhr • Photography by Brian W. McDonald

2 hothouse cucumbers
2 red bell peppers
1 yellow bell pepper
8 vine-ripened tomatoes
2 red onions
6 cloves garlic
46 ounces tomato juice
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

Roughly chop cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes and red onions into 1-inch cubes, keeping each ingredient separate. Place half of each separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and pulse until coarsely chopped. Do not over-process. After each vegetable is processed, combine in a bowl and add garlic, tomato juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add remaining chopped vegetables. Mix well and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop. Serve chilled with homemade croutons and suggested garnishes.

For homemade croutons:

4 slices thickly sliced white bread, crusts discarded and bread chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. On a baking sheet, toss bread and olive oil. Bake in middle of oven, shaking baking sheet occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until croutons are golden brown and crisp. Season croutons with salt and pepper.

For garnish:

1 avocado
1 lime
1 small mango, peeled, cored and chopped
1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup slivered basil

Immediately prior to serving, scoop out each avocado half and coarsely chop. Squeeze lime juice over avocado and gently toss to prevent browning. Place avocado, mango, shrimp, cilantro and basil in separate bowls, and serve with gazpacho, so each person can garnish as desired.