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Gazpacho Soup

ingredients

2 1/2 lb (1 kg) large ripe tomatoes
1 red pepper
1/2 mild Spanish onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 - 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red chilli pepper, seeds and stalk removed
3 tbsp fine fresh breadcrumbs
1 small or 1/2 large cucumber, chilled
5 thin slices white bread
salt

method

1. Blanch, peel and sieve the tomatoes; liquidize them in the blender at a high speed with 1 clove garlic, the chopped red pepper and onion, a pinch of salt, the vinegar, 3 tbsp of the oil, the chilli pepper and the breadcrumbs until very well blended. Add a little more salt than you would normally allow as chilling the soup masks the taste of salt.

2. Pour into a soup tureen, cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 - 6 hours.

3. Peel and dice the cucumber. Cut the crusts off the bread slices and cut into small cubes.

4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the cubes over a moderate heat, turning frequently until crisp and golden brown.

5. Sprinkle with a little salt and set aside in a bowl. Serve the gazpacho in chilled soup bowls, handing round the bowls of cucumber and croutons separately.

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