Most gazpachos encountered in restaurants are sad affairs, pureed in some machine, with a few diced cucumbers floating around for effect. For a gazpacho to be at its best, the ingredients must be chopped by hand or very carefully in a food processor—small amounts, short pulses—or they will lose their identity. A gazpacho should be a study in contrasts—cool, hot, hard, soft—not homogenous. While the soul of the soup is tomatoes, the accent of a smoked chile, such as a chipotle or pasilla de Oaxaca, and the tang of lime make all the difference.
– 1 red onion, very finely chopped.
– 2 cloves garlic, minced and then crushed with the flat side of the knife.
– 8 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped.
– 1 regular (not hothouse) cucumber, peeled and halved lengthwise.
– 1 bell pepper, preferably yellow (for color), charred, peeled, and seeded and then finely chopped.
– 1 or more chipotle chiles, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes to soften if dried orrinsed if canned, seeded, and finely chopped, or 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely chopped.
– 1 poblano chile, charred, peeled, and seeded and then finely chopped.
– 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional).
– ¼ cup fresh lime juice.
Step 1:In a bowl, combine the onion, garlic, and tomatoes, mix well, and refrigerate. Scoop the seeds out of the cucumber halves. Thinly slice each half lengthwise, cut each slice lengthwise to make narrow strips, and then cut the strips crosswise to make fine dice. Add the cucumber, bell pepper,chiles, cilantro, and lime juice to the tomato mixture, stir gently to combine, and then season with salt and pepper. Once the salt is added, the vegetables will begin to release their water, and the mixture will become more liquid. Cover and refrigerate until ice cold. Serve straight from the refrigerator in chilled bowls.