Friday, August 20, 2010

Tomatillo Pepita Gazpacho

I had so many tomatillos leftover from the last two weeks and with the weekend approaching I had to use them up before the next CSA pickup! This is a great summertime recipe that I've made before, but I personalised with a few tweaks.

First, here is some history about gazpacho from

"Gazpacho is a liquid salad from the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, made of ripe tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, garlic, and bread moistened with water that is blended with olive oil, vinegar, and ice water and served cold. It is Andalusia's best known dish and probably originated as a soup during the time when Spain was part of the Islamic world in the Middle Ages, a soup the Spanish call an ajo blanco, which contained garlic, almonds, bread, olive oil, vinegar, and salt...Gazpacho comes in a variety of different intraregional versions, some of which contain almonds, and no tomatoes and peppers (tomatoes and peppers came to gazpacho after Columbus)."

Liquid salad...mmm...doesn't that sound tasty??

In this case, I'm using tomatillos (a.k.a husk tomatoes or Mexican green tomatoes) and ground cherries (a.k.a cape gooseberry) instead of regular tomatoes as the main ingredient for gazpacho. You can see the ground cherry looks like a mini tomatillo but it's much sweeter in flavor.  Tomatoes, tomatillos and ground cherries all come from the same taxonomic family which is nightshade. So it's not a huge leap of faith to do some replacements in various recipes. Tomatillos are the main ingredient in Salsa Verde, which also isn't a far stretch from this recipe for Gazpacho. Instead of almonds, mentioned in ajo blanco above, pepitas or pumpkin seeds are used. There is definitely a green theme!
Tomatillo Pepita Gazpacho

1/2 cup shelled unsalted pepitas
2 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1/4 cup ground cherries, husked and rinsed
2 Hungarian hot peppers
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 English hothouse cucumber, diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatillos and peppers on a baking sheet and bake until almost soft, about 10 minutes. Add ground cherries to baking sheet and leave in oven 3-5 minutes longer. Pepper and tomatillos will be very slightly charred ground cherries soft. Set aside to cool.

Grind Pepitas in food processor. Add tomatillos, ground cherries and garlic. Peel and seed peppers and add to processor. Process soup to a coarse puree. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in vegetable broth and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, chill until cold, about 3 hours.

When ready to serve, divide soup among bowls and top with green onion, cucumber and avocado. Finish with a dollop of sour cream if desired.


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