Serve chilled, but not iced

Gaz­pa­cho with sauteed scal­lops fea­tures the fresh flavours of toma­toes, pep­pers, and cu­cum­bers

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FOOD -

Mother Na­ture has a sixth sense for when we’re reach­ing our tem­per­a­ture break­ing point.

At the very same mo­ment your hot oven be­comes un­wel­come, a to­mato is be­ing plucked from the vine and a cu­cum­ber is be­ing nes­tled into its stall at the farm stand.

It feels rather serendip­i­tous that the stars of the mid-sum­mer bounty, like toma­toes, cu­cum­bers, and bright pep­pers, shine when they are cold and raw. For some of us, a sliced to­mato sprin­kled with sea salt is the pri­mary motivation to sur­vive win­ter. And even if you aren’t quite that pas­sion­ate, you can surely still ap­pre­ci­ate any recipe whose method is as easy as “Slice, sprin­kle, eat.”

In the U.S., our ac­cess to lo­cal hot-weather pro­duce is lim­ited to a short few months. But else­where in the world, like along the Mediter­ranean coast­line, fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles are a year-round lux­ury. And while coun­tries like Italy, France and Spain have lent us some rather ad­vanced tech­niques and recipes, there is noth­ing more Mediter­ranean than a sim­ple dish that show­cases its in­gre­di­ents.

This is es­pe­cially ev­i­dent in a recipe like gaz­pa­cho with sauteed scal­lops. A quick scan of the in­gre­di­ents re­veals a sim­ple dish, with lit­tle added to en­hance the nat­u­ral flavours of the sum­mer veg­eta­bles. It is only with the most flavour­ful toma­toes, pep­pers, and cu­cum­bers that this soup can shine - just as it would on a hot day along the coast of Spain.

Gaz­pa­cho is a tra­di­tional Span­ish soup, and while there are a num­ber of vari­a­tions, this one is served cold and is per­fect for a hot sum­mer din­ner al fresco. Most com­monly, chilled gaz­pa­cho is a blended com­bi­na­tion of toma­toes, cu­cum­bers, and gar­lic, but it’s not un­com­mon to see pep­pers, onions, and even day-old bread added to the mix.

We like serv­ing gaz­pa­cho with hot sauteed scal­lops for a fun tem­per­a­ture con­trast, but you can serve yours along­side sim­ple cold sand­wiches, grilled meat or fish, or even on its own for a bite with cock­tails.

Oh, and we for­got to men­tion the best thing about this recipe: You can make it the day ahead and then, ob­vi­ously, you don’t even have to re­heat it. That means you can make this on Satur­day in ba­si­cally zero min­utes, and then on Sun­day, you can sit in your back­yard, stream some Fla­menco mu­sic and sip Span­ish wine while you pre­tend the wind from your neigh­bour’s leaf blower is ac­tu­ally a cool Mediter­ranean breeze.

La dolce vida!

GAZ­PA­CHO WITH SAUTEED SCAL­LOPS

Serv­ings: 10

Start to fin­ish: 8 hours 20 min­utes (Ac­tive time: 20 min­utes)

4 pounds plum toma­toes, roughly chopped

3 medium green bell pep­pers, cored and roughly chopped 1 medium cu­cum­ber, peeled and roughly chopped

4 gar­lic cloves, crushed

1/2 cup red wine vine­gar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 tea­spoon kosher salt, or as needed

1/4 tea­spoon ground black pep­per, or as needed

Gar­nish

1 ta­ble­spoon veg­etable oil

10 sea scal­lops, pat dry with a pa­per towel

5 plum toma­toes, seeded, small dice

1 green bell pep­per, cored, small dice

1 medium cu­cum­ber, peeled, seeded, small dice

1 ear corn, boiled, ker­nels re­moved (op­tional)

1 jalapeno, sliced (op­tional)

In a large non-re­ac­tive bowl, com­bine the toma­toes, pep­pers, cu­cum­ber, gar­lic, vine­gar, olive oil, salt, and pep­per. Toss to com­bine. Cover and re­frig­er­ate overnight to mar­i­nate.

Trans­fer the veg­eta­bles and juices to a blender, work­ing in batches if nec­es­sary. Blend un­til very smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve (see note), us­ing a sil­i­cone spat­ula to press the liq­uid through the strainer un­til the pulp is very dry. Dis­card the pulp. Ad­just sea­son­ing with salt and pep­per, as needed. Keep the soup re­frig­er­ated un­til serv­ing.

Heat the veg­etable oil in a medium non-stick skil­let over medium-high heat. Add the scal­lops, work­ing in batches if needed to avoid over­crowd­ing the pan, and cook un­til golden brown on both sides, 2 to 3 min­utes per side. Trans­fer to a plate as fin­ished and set aside. Serve the soup gar­nished with the diced toma­toes, pep­per, and cu­cum­ber. Top with corn and jalapenos, if us­ing, and the hot scal­lops.

Chef’s Note: If you pre­fer a thicker, chunky gaz­pa­cho, skip the strain­ing step. In this case, you might choose to peel and seed your toma­toes be­fore mar­i­nat­ing. To peel toma­toes, cut an X into the bot­tom of each to­mato and drop into boil­ing water un­til the skin starts to loosen around the edges, about 20 sec­onds. Trans­fer to an ice water bath to cool be­fore peel­ing. Nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing: 193 calo­ries; 115 calo­ries from fat; 13 g fat (2 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 4 mg choles­terol; 188 mg sodium;

16 g car­bo­hy­drate; 4 g fiber; 9 g sugar; 5 g protein.

AP PHOTO

This recipe for chilled gaz­pa­cho soup with sauteed scal­lops is a sim­ple dish, with lit­tle added to en­hance the nat­u­ral flavours of sum­mer veg­eta­bles.

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