I had thought that for my first attempt to cook from Plenty, I would go for the green gazpacho, because it’s summer and we have cucumbers by the ton. And really, a recipe where you just whiz it all up in the blender and it’s done sounded like an ideal way to make my weekend a bit more relaxing.
We had most of the ingredients right from the garden. Most, but not all. And this is where I become a jerk.
I know that Ottolenghi has taken time to actually learn about how to cook, and additionally, he has honed these recipes pretty carefully, and they have all been tested by still more people who all know more about cooking than I ever will. And despite this, I look at the recipes and freely make whatever substitutions I need to based on what is fresh from our CSA or the garden. My apologies to all the great chefs out there whose recipes I have traumatized.
So this is what I came up with, basically based on the recipe from Plenty:
- 3.5 cucumbers (1.5 lbs) peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 Serrano pepper
- 1 clove garlic (feel free to add more here, but garlic messes with my system something fierce, so I tend to use it sparingly)
- 2 slices white sandwich bread, stale or toasted
- scant 1/4 C walnuts
- 1/3 C cilantro leaves (and stems, if you are so inclined)
- 1 C water
- a few good glugs of EVOO – I suppose I added about 1/4 C
- heaping Tbs of sour cream
Just dump it all in the blender and run it until it comes as close to smooth as your blender will manage. Add salt. At this point, go ahead and adjust the consistency by adding more water or bread. Serve garnished with cilantro. Serves 4.
I ended up serving this at an impromptu dinner party along with some ribs and cornbread. And it wasn’t the most elegant combo ever (guys, your salad is in this cup – just drink it down so we can get on with it), but the soup was truly delicious.