Here's a signature from Amar Santana, Executive Chef at Charlie Palmer, South Coast Plaza. Light, healthy and a cinch to make, it's perfect for summer (once the weather perks up, that is).
On the other hand, if you're feeling fancy, you can jazz it up by garnishing it with marinated baby shrimp and avocado, as Santana does.
We couldn't get a photo of the dish itself, but, let's face it: we all know what gazpacho looks like. But not everyone knows what Santana looks like--so here's a cheery pic of him instead. Check out the pearly whites!
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Serves 6 as an appetizer
6 piquillo peppers
5 leaves basil, washed
3 sprigs cilantro, washed
3 celery ribs, chopped
15 plum tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cucumber, washed and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
½ clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp sea salt
1 pinch black pepper, coarsely ground
1 tsp coriander seed, toasted and coarsely ground
2 tsp red wine vinegar
¼ cup good quality olive oil
1 cup water
1. Combine all ingredients in a shallow pan, cover with plastic film and refrigerate overnight.
2. Purée the vegetables smooth in a blender or food processor. Pass through a china cap (strainer), pressing firmly to extract all juices. Discard any solids.
3. Adjust seasoning, then serve.