Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Gazpacho with Shiso leaves
Purple shiso known as Perilla. In Japan it is known as Japanese Basil and the purple variety is used to color umeboshi plums.
My love of shiso leaves are somewhat of a joke in my family. I regularly embarrass my husband in sushi restaurants by asking if I can order a stack of shiso leaves to eat with my raw fish. Normally a Japanese cuisine garnish, the shiso is very underrated. It has a crisp minty, lemony, anise taste. When I can get it, I tear it up and toss in salads, or like tonight; make gazpacho.
I am very anal about my gazapacho. I have found that there are many different opinions about making this dish and in the end it boils down to what you like. My gazpacho is simple, easy and structured. I have touted the wonders of good quality olive oil before, and this recipe is no exception. It is the difference between amazing and mediocre. So, go for it! Buy a great bottle of olive oil and drizzle it on everything! Oh the bounty of summer!
4 med. sized very ripe tomatoes
2 lemon cucumbers or 1/2 green cucumber.
1/2 cup red onion finely diced
2 tbls. champagne or red wine vinegar (add one tbls at a time and taste for what you like)
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
1 shiso leaf thinly sliced
Cut tops off tomatoes, and grate. Press your hand on the bottom of the tomato while grating. You are grating all the pulp and seeds off the tomato with the skin left behind to discard.
Peel skins off cucumbers, cut in half and scoop seeds out with a spoon. Chop into very fine pieces
Add shiso, salt, vinegar and olive oil to tomatoes, onions and cucumber. Adjust vinegar if needed.
Let flavors mingle for at least one hour before serving. This dish is to be served room temperature. If you put it in the fridge, make sure you take it out in enough time to warm it up. Gazapacho has no flavor if it is cold.