This recipe for gazpacho has been a staple in my kitchen for the last five years. It's the only version I make. The simplicity of it allows the flavors of ripe tomatoes to shine, and the no-heat preparation means this is a total joy to make when you're craving something homemade but can't face the stove.
2.25-2.5 lbs. ripe tomatoes, quartered (and cored if the interior is quite solid--I find smaller tomatoes don't need this step)
1 small piece of stale bread, such as sourdough, crusts removed
2 cloves of fresh garlic
1 t. Kosher salt
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. cumin
2 T. sherry vinegar
1/4 c. mild olive oil (optional, but very suggested)
Soak the piece of bread in a cup of very cold water for about one minute, or until well saturated. Remove and gently squeeze out the extra water.
Meanwhile, mince the garlic as finely as possible on a wooden cutting board, then sprinkle the salt over it and using the flat of the knife, crush the garlic and salt into a paste.
Add the tomatoes, bread, garlic paste, cumin and sugar to the bowl of a food processor. (I find a blender purées this mixture TOO well.) Pulse several times, then with the motor running, slowly add in the olive oil. When the soup is thoroughly blended, decant into a bowl. Stir in the vinegar, one Tabkespoon at a time, tasting in between. Adjust salt and chill for at least one hour before serving.
You can strain the gazpacho through a sieve before serving, but I prefer some texture in this soup.