Every season is magical, and it’s impossible to say which one I like cooking in the most. I like when I forget about a particular vegetable and then it turns up, and we have a couple of weeks to use them. Take this gazpacho, for example, it’s a lovely dish to make at home because it’s just about showcasing the best of summer vegetables, and there is nothing technical about it. All you need is good ingredients and you’ll end up with something exceptional.
2kg mixed ripe tomatoes (Pink Bull’s heart, San Marzano)
1 Italian red pepper
250ml of best quality passata
1 Sicilian cucumber (peeled and deseeded)
1 Tropea onion (a dry, sweet Italian onion)
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon of Nora pepper paste
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil (splash before blitzing, more to finish)
1/2 bunch basil
Hard-boiled egg (cooked for 10 minutes)
In a large bowl, chop all the vegetables into equal size pieces (about the size of a 50p piece). Add the peeled garlic clove, basil, passata and Nora paste.
Add about a teaspoon of salt and mix thoroughly together. Cover and leave for about three hours to marinate.
After that time, add about 30ml of good-quality red wine vinegar, a few dashes of Tabasco and Worcestershire Sauce, a good slug (around 100ml) of olive oil, and finally a pinch of celery salt.
In a food processor, blitz each jug for about two minutes and then pass through a sieve to ensure the soup is smooth.
Taste the soup at this point and adjust the seasoning if necessary, using salt and vinegar until you are happy with the balance of flavours. You can store the soup in the fridge until required.
To garnish, separate the hard-boiled egg between white and yolk and finely grate individually.
Cut small croutons from some sliced bread and fry gently in olive oil until golden brown.
Pour the soup into the bowl, sprinkle on the grated egg white, yolk and finely chopped chives. Then finish with the croutons and a generous dribble of olive oil.