250: Cucumber, Poblano, and Celery Leaf Gazpacho

Two fiddy. Wow.

Late in the summer, celery shows up at the farmers’ markets in Seattle with its leaves still attached. They look like overgrown, tough parsley, but taste like a leafy version of the stalk they grow on, and can be added anywhere you might use bright, leafy greens such as parsley, cilantro, or lovage (the French name for which – I just learned – translates to “bastard celery”). I’m curious – and slightly apprehensive – to know how celery leaves would taste with an Asian peanut dressing. You know, peanut butter and celery, turned into a salad. But that was too much for tonight.

Here, they turn a gazpacho made with the season’s best (warm tomatoes from my windowsill, an onion from Sheldon’s garden, poblano peppers from the Phinney market) into a cool summer soup with an almost Bloody Mary-like flavor – so hey, add some vodka into the mix, if the mood strikes you, especially if you can find some good garlic- or pepper-infused stuff.

Cucumber, Poblano, and Celery Leaf Gazpacho 2

Cucumber, Poblano, and Celery Leaf Gazpacho (PDF)
Recipe 250 of 365

Chop the vegetables as finely as you have the patience for – big, irregular chunks make a more casual impression, but the soup will certainly taste just as great. Or, if you’re short on patience and/or time altogether, just throw everything in the blender for a smoother (but in my opinion, slightly less attractive) gazpacho. No matter what you do to the vegetables, do be sure to let the soup sit for a while before you serve it – the juices that seep out of the cucumbers and tomatoes over time are what give this version its liquidity.

TIME: 20 minutes
MAKES: 2 to 4 servings

1 pound heirloom tomatoes (any color), finely chopped
1 small seedless cucumber (about 1/2 pound), finely chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed celery leaves (or cilantro), finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce, to taste

Mix the tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, onion, garlic, and chopped celery leaves in a large bowl and stir to blend. Add the oil and vinegar, season with salt, pepper, and Tabasco, and let sit at least 30 minutes before serving.

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Filed under farmer's market, recipe, soup, vegetables

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