For ideal flavor, allow the gazpacho to sit in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Red wine vinegar can be substituted for the sherry vinegar. I prefer to use kosher salt in this soup, or half the amount of table salt can be used. Serve the soup with additional extra-virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, ground black pepper, and diced vegetables for diners to season and garnish their own bowls as desired. Serves 4-6.
3 pounds (about 6 medium) ripe tomatoes, cored
1 small cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 medium green bell pepper, halved, cored and seeded
1 small red onion, peeled and halved
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1 small serrano chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise
1 slice white bread, crust removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley, chives, or basil leaves
Ground black pepper
1. Roughly chop 2 pounds of tomatoes, half of cucumber, half of bell pepper, and half of onion and place in large bowl. Add garlic, chile, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; toss until well combined. Set aside.
2. Cut remaining tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper into 1/4-inch dice; place vegetables in medium bowl. Mince remaining onion and add to diced vegetables. Toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and transfer to fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Set aside 1 hour.
3. Transfer drained diced vegetables to medium bowl and set aside. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid (there should be about 1/4 cup) and soak 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid to roughly chopped vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.
4. Transfer half of vegetable-bread mixture to blender and process 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup oil and continue to blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain soup through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, using back of ladle or rubber spatula to press soup through strainer. Repeat with remaining vegetable-bread mixture and 1/4 cup olive oil.
5. Stir vinegar, minced herb, and half of diced vegetables into soup and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours to chill completely and develop flavors. Serve, passing remaining diced vegetables, olive oil, sherry vinegar, and black pepper separately.