Bright Summer Gazpacho

By / Magazine / August 29th, 2013 / 3

It seems that most cooks not only strive to use the highest-quality ingredients, but also are particular about the equipment that they use when cooking. When asked which is the most important, the answer inevitably is their knife.

Recently, I have been on a bit of a knife kick. I have been scouring the web to find out which one would be right for me. What I found is that there are way more options that I could have imagined. I have always been interested in knives, what makes them unique, what their advantages are and why people like certain knives over others. What have I learned during all my research? Well, two things really: I am a fan of Japanese knives (mainly the shape and the steel), and that no matter the knife, the sharper the better.

There is nothing fancy about the knife I use. I like the way it feels, and it works well for me, but for years I didn’t realize that my knife was not as sharp as it could be. That my knife could be much more efficient at doing the work it was designed to do: slice, chop and cut. It was then that I received a honing spit I thought was actually for sharpening, which is not really the case (even though it does help to keep a knife sharp, it’s primarily for straightening the blade). After a few more years I was told about a professional knife sharpener, and I have not turned back since. My knives are much sharper than ever before. Food no longer stands a chance; soft tomato skins, veggies, meats, all succumb to the blade.

Why is this important, though? A sharp knife allows you to use more even movements with much less force or pressing harder than necessary. This reduces the chance of the blade slipping or losing control. It is also much easier to cut food into smaller pieces, which speeds up — and allows for more consistent — cooking time.

A sharp knife is essential to all things in the kitchen, and an average one that is sharp is better than an expensive one that is dull.  The sharper it is, the more successful the dish, and this particular dish especially benefits from a quick cut. It’s a summer classic that I enjoy and now moreso than before, because there are no more squished tomatoes in my kitchen.

Bright Summer Gazpacho

Bright Summer Gazpacho


  • 1 lb fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, rough chop
  • 1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 garlic clove, fine chop
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (good quality) + 1 tbsp for garnish
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (sherry vinegar for a milder flavour)
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper (each)
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives or parsley, fine chop for garnish


  1. In a blender, mix tomatoes, cucumber, shallot, bell pepper and garlic till smooth. Add olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and mix just till incorporated.
  2. Remove mixture and place in fridge for at least 2 hours; overnight is preferable. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper before serving if necessary, and add water to dilute consistency as desired.
  3. Stir mixture (strain if desired) prior to serving. Drizzle each portion with olive oil and garnish with desired herb.
  4. This is a simple soup that is light and refreshing, but the quality of ingredients is paramount. Use ripe, fresh ingredients for best results. Same goes for your wine. A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will be refreshing.

Photo credit: cyclonebill


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