Gazpacho with Crispy Ham & Croutons

Gazpacho with Crispy Ham & Croutons
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups day-old country bread, torn into pieces
  2. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  3. pinch of cumin
  4. 1/2 t. Kosher salt
  5. 3 pounds ripe in-season tomatoes
  6. 1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
  7. 1 red pepper, chopped
  8. 2 T. red onion
  9. 1/4 cup mild extra virgin olive oil
  10. 3 T. sherry vinegar
  11. 1/4 pound ham, cubed
  12. 1 thick slice of Ciabatta, cubed
Instructions
  1. Place the bread in a bowl, add cold water to cover, and let soak for 5-10 minutes. Drain the bread and squeeze out excess liquid.
  2. Place garlic, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt in a mortal and, using a pestle, mash them to a paste.
  3. Place the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, red onion, soaked bread and garlic paste in a large bowl. Toss to mix. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Add to blender (it may need to be in 2 batches) along with olive oil. Puree until smooth.
  5. Transfer soup to a large bowl and season with sherry vinegar and salt to taste.
  6. Refrigerate the gazpacho, covered, until chilled. At least 2 hours.
  7. In a small skillet, heat a Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add cubed ham and fry until crisp. Remove to bowl leaving olive oil behind. Add cubed bread and fry until browned.
  8. Garnish soup with cubes of ham, croutons and a drizzle of olive oil.
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