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Radically Simple Cooking: Fresh Spins on Summer Gazpacho

Photo: Johnny Autry
Blended, chilled soups packed with veggies or fruit make a delicious first course, a zingy entrée, and even a refreshing dessert.

Gazpacho has come a long way since its humble beginnings—the earliest versions, possibly dating back to ancient Rome, contained little more than bread, water, and olive oil mashed into a poor man's porridge. In the Middle Ages, cooks added garlic, vinegar, and nuts to punch up the flavor and enrich the pulverized mixture. Tomatoes and peppers made an appearance in the post-Columbus era when these New World flavors came to the Spanish table. Today, there are countless adaptations.

Yet the dish remains a study in simplicity. Pick your favorite fruits and veggies of the season, blend them together as smooth or chunky as you like, and chill. Try Moroccan Red Gazpacho as a dramatic backdrop for grilled chicken or chilled shrimp. Serve tangy blueberry gazpacho as a vibrant first course, or top with a scoop of lemon sorbet as a grand finale to a summer meal.