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Gazpacho Garnished with Egg and Serrano Ham

This recipe is loosely adapted from one in Janet Mendel's excellent My Kitchen in Spain. I've chosen to give conservative quantities for salt, vinegar and cumin. Taste carefully once the gazpacho is made and add more seasonings to your taste. 

Course Appetizer, Main Dish
Cuisine Portuguese, Spanish
Prep Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces country-style bread crusts removed (about 4 slices)
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes about 4
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded cucumber
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion such as Vidalia
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Hot pepper sauce to taste (optional)
  • 6 to 8 hard-cooked egg wedges for garnish (optional)
  • 6 to 8 thin strips Serrano ham or prosciutto optional

Instructions

  1. Tear bread in pieces and place in a bowl; cover with water and soak for a few minutes. Meanwhile, set a strainer over blender container. Halve tomatoes and, using fingers, scoop pulp into strainer, pressing to push liquid through while leaving seeds behind.
  2. Pick up bread, squeezing water from each handful, and add to blender, along with garlic. Blend until smooth (add a little water if mixture is too dry to blend).
  3. Add cucumber, onion, salt and cumin. Blend until smooth. With motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream. Add more water as needed for the desired consistency, which could be runny or fairly thick.

  4. Taste, adding more seasonings (salt, vinegar and, if using, hot pepper sauce) as needed; blend briefly to incorporate additions.
  5. Garnish each serving with an egg wedge and artfully draped ham strip.