Gazpacho is one of those specialties that manages, without even trying, to span the dining spectrum. It can be served in a wide, flat soup dish with exactingly brunoised garnishes, or ladled into throwaway cups, for sipping outdoors on a hot afternoon.Call it “salad in a glass,” however hackneyed it may sound, because, well, it is—gazpacho combines all the elements of a delicious vegetable salad in drinkable form.
Chef Ryan O’Melveny Wilson of Five Crowns and SideDoor in Corona del Mar applies simple-but-chefly technique to his gazpacho. His salting truc is so simple, and the result so good—it’s easy to imagine this becoming my go-to gazpacho. Wait… becoming? Too late—already is.
Use the best tomatoes you can find. I used some very ripe specimens from Smith Farms, and one recent week chef Wilson chose cherry tomatoes from OC Produce. Both Smith and OC Produce sell at many Orange County farmers markets—you can consult our searchable, updated farmers market guide by clicking here. But don’t hesitate to use supermarket tomatoes—the aforementioned truc will make the very most of them.
Gazpacho from Chef Ryan O’Melveny Wilson
(Makes 10 to 12 servings)
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 English cucumber, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ medium red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon Spanish paprika (mild, medium, or hot)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons sherry or red-wine vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Additional salt, paprika, crushed red pepper, vinegar, olive oil
Combine the vegetables in a non-reactive container with room for liquid to accumulate. Add salt, spices, vinegar, and olive oil and toss to incorporate. With your hands, gently squeeze and toss vegetables to break down flesh slightly.
Cover loosely with plastic, and nest a slightly smaller container on top of the mixture. Weight with several large cans. Refrigerate at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Spoon softened vegetables into blender container with half of accumulated liquid, and purée. Add remaining liquid and purée completely or to desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, crushed red pepper, vinegar, and olive oil. Serve very cold.