GAZPACHO WITH HERB OIL
SERVES 8 as a starter PREPARATION TIME 35 minutes (plus overnight marinating & straining time) COOKING TIME 5 minutes
1kg very ripe tomatoes, chopped (such as Roma, beef or ox-heart) ½ fresh long red chilli, seeds removed, chopped 2 French shallots, peeled, finely chopped 1 ripe red capsicum, seeds removed, chopped 1 stick celery, peeled of the stringy outside, chopped 1 small cucumber, seeded and chopped 2 cloves of garlic, crushed 3 tbsp good-quality sherry vinegar, plus extra, to taste 250ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra, to taste 100g day-old crusty white bread, crusts removed
1 bunch basil, leaves picked 1 bunch parsley, leaves picked 1 bunch chervil or oregano, leaves picked 500ml extra virgin olive oil
1. For the herb oil, blanch the herb leaves in a large saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds or until just wilted. Immediately remove with a sieve and transfer to a bowl of iced water to refresh. Strain, squeezing out excess water. Transfer to a blender or food processor. With the motor running, gradually add the oil. Blend until smooth. Place a fine sieve over a bowl and line with a clean dishcloth or muslin. Pour in the herb oil and set aside to strain for 4-6 hours. Season. Store in a glass jar in the fridge until required. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the tomato, chilli, shallot, capsicum, celery, cucumber, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the vinegar and 50ml of the oil. Season. Cover and place in the fridge for 4-12 hours to allow flavours to develop (see note). 3. Place the bread in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 5 minutes. Squeeze out excess water. 4. Transfer vegetable mix to a food processor. Add a little remaining oil. Process on low speed, gradually increasing speed and slowly adding the remaining oil and vinegar. Gradually add the bread. Process until smooth. Season, taste and add more oil and vinegar if desired. 5. Strain mixture through a sieve, pushing down with the back of a large spoon, into a bowl or jug. Serve topped with the herb oil. Note: This is a recipe that really benefits from being prepared the night before for the flavours to really start to come alive.