Recipes: Strawberry and Basil Gazpacho

When served 'souper' cold, a punchy Gazpacho might be one of the most refreshing things that could pass your lips on a hot day. Other than a gin-tonic, of course.

When you're hosting, this Andalusian chilled soup is a cracking little number to have up your sleeve; like it's superb starter for a lunch party, it's just as stylish served in shot glasses at a big BBQ. What's more, the beauty of this baby is that whilst the classic tomato version is top notch, there are so many different versions you could try. Just remember the cardinal rule: Make it the night before and keep it in the fridge until you need it. Bang.

As far as flavour pairings go, strawberry and basil tick all the boxes in my book. Muddled in caipirinas, blended in daiquiris or scattered over salads, they just work. Since returning from Modena in May, I've been doing somersaults about balsamico, so I couldn't leave it out of the party. Most gazpacho recipes have cucumber in them, but since cucumber is the devil in Darty's eyes, I replaced it with yellow pepper in this recipe.

In the past month, I've served this in London and Spain, and it's gone down a treat in both.
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Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1kg beautiful tomatoes, peeled
400g strawberries, stems removed
1 yellow pepper, diced and seeds removed
1 red chilli, diced and stem removed
Big bunch basil
1 big clove of garlic (remove the green bit in the middle)
60g raw blanched almonds
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
4 generous glugs extra-virgin olive oil
Tomato juice (amount depends on consistency)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve:
More strawberries, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
Basil leaves, roughly torn
Balsamic vinegar, the best quality you can get your mits on

Method

Have I mentioned that this is, quite possibly, the easiest thing to make, ever? I even make it in my smoothie machine as I don't have a food processor, I just need to remember to soak it overnight so it doesn't reek of raw garlic, which I sort of discovered the hard way.

Firstly, toast the almonds in a pan or in the oven, either works as long as they're the right side of golden.

Then, in batches, blend the almonds with the tomatoes, strawberries, yellow pepper, basil, chilli, garlic, sherry vinegar and olive oil. Add tomato juice if you need to. Season liberally.

Mix together in a big jug or container and pop in the fridge overnight.

When it's party time and you're ready to go, serve in soup bowls and garnish with a smattering of the chopped cucumber and balasmico-laced strawberries.

So, who said Gazpacho had to be all about the tomatoes? Watermelon-chilli, cauliflower-almond, and nutty-greens are some of the combinations I am excited about whizzing up in the Very Kerri kitchen soon. Tweet me your favourite flavours and I'll give them a bash.