During the last coupe of weeks the temperature has been rising in Athens. With the sizzling heat averaging about 35º C every day, I have to admit my desire to cook has diminished. What most Greeks seem to do is wait until the sun sets and then light up the bbqs outside. The charcoal scents lingering in most neighborhoods will make any mouth water. But what to do when you find yourself a bit peckish during the day and not in the mood to cook?
I have never been a huge fan of cold soups, but there is something about the combination of sunripe tomatoes and fresh cucumbers in a gazpacho that appeals to me. Today at the market I came across a relative to the regular cucumber, aggouri, not to be confused with agori which means boy. I have made that mistake many times and you receive quite a puzzled look. This cucumber is slightly sweeter than the regular cucumber and it’s called gpethria. However as it’s most likely not available outside of Greece I’ve excluded it from the recipe below.
Top the soup with a small piece of crumbled feta cheese and a drizzle of Greek extra virgin olive oil; a recent favorite purchased during a recent trip to the Peloponnese comes from the fantastic area of Laconia (http://www.oliveculture.gr/).
Greek Gazpacho with Feta
Makes 1.5 quarts, 4 portions
- 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into large dice
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled if not organic and cut into chunks
- 4 large sunripe tomatoes, cut in half and seeds removed, then cut into quarters
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 oz feta cheese, 1 oz for each portion
- chopped chives, as a garnish
- drizzle of Greek extra virgin olive oil
- Put the onion, cucumber, tomatoes, stock, parsley and cilatro in a food processor and puree until smooth.
- Add salt and pepper. Chill in refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
- Ladle into bowl and top with feta cheese, sprinkle with chopped chives and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.