Roasted Beet and Cilantro GazpachoJanuary 7, 2016
Summer on the north shore of Long Island is divine! Every day, the Long Island Sound provides breath-taking views, no matter if the weather is sunny or cloudy, rainy or blistering hot. The Long Island farm-stands and CSAs (Community Supported Agricultural collective) are overflowing with the most gorgeous bounty of fresh, Long-Island grown vegetables, fruits, and flowers. CSAs are now popping up across North America. What makes them so special is not only do they allow us to "eat locally," but they also allow us to reconnect with the land, they enable us to try new produce that we not have purchased otherwise, they help create community by introducing us to those around us. Perhaps one of the most important features of the CSA is that often, many CSAs contribute their extra produce to soup kitchens and shelters, providing fresh sustenance to those who usually rely on canned vegetables and fruits. This past Shabbat (Saturday), one of my congregants brought some of her extra CSA produce to our Torah study group. I was the lucky recipient of some beautiful beets: golden yellow beets, candy-cane red-and-white striped beets and ruby-red beets. I had seen some recipes for a beet and cilantro gazpacho, but wanted to try my own version of it. I love a cold soup on a hot summer's day. I think you'll find this version perfect for a summer lunch, brunch, or a light fish/chicken dinner.
- 6-8 large beets peeled and cubed in large chunks (I wear talc-free surgical gloves to do this so my hands don't stain)
- ⅔ cup cilantro about ⅔ bunch, rinsed
- 1 large English cucumber roughly chopped (no need to peel), plus one for garnish
- ½ medium red onion chopped, and save extra half, chopped for garnish
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish
- Pre-heat oven to 425°F.
- Line heavy duty, rimmed large cookie sheet with parchment paper and brush lightly with olive oil.
- Place chopped beets in a single layer on parchment and toss to coat with olive oil.
- Grind fresh pepper and sprinkle sea salt over the beets.
- Roast beets in 425 degree oven for approximately 25-40 minutes (times vary depending on your oven) until beets are lightly browned. Check after 15-20 minutes. Turn beets over after they've lightly browned on the bottom. (There will be a lot of shrinkage!)
- In a large deep bowl or pot, place 2 cups water, the chopped cucumber chopped onion, rinsed cilantro, vinegar and cooked beets. Reserve 1 cup of the beets for garnish.
- Using an immersion blender, blend until desired consistency is achieved. (Could be slightly chunky or very smooth — it's up to your taste). You could also put everything in a blender and blend.
- If necessary, add a more water, a LITTLE at a time, until it's the consistency you desire.
- Add some lemon juice to 'brighten up the flavor' and more salt/pepper to taste. (Again, this is up to you. If you want the gazpacho to have a little "kick", add a few drops of Tabasco.)
- Put in fridge overnight. And then adjust seasonings next day.
- Serve chilled with diced cukes, diced roasted beets, diced red onion and some sour cream or Greek yogurt on the side.
It’s best when made the evening before and the flavors can “gel” overnight in the fridge. Measurements are approximate, because everything is really “to taste.”