Chef John Folse: Spicy creole gazpacho

Chef John Folse - Creole Gazpacho

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - In the hot Louisiana climate, a chilled tomato soup such as this one is revered as a delicacy. Serve this gazpacho in a punch or coffee cup as an interesting appetizer before the guests are seated at the dinner table.

Ingredients for croutons (optional):

4 French bread slices, ¾-inch thick

¼ cup butter

¼ cup olive oil

1 tsp chopped oregano

1 tsp chopped basil

½ tsp chopped rosemary

1 tsp minced garlic

salt to taste

Method for croutons (optional):

Preheat oven to 300°F. Cut French bread into ¾-inch cubes with crust on. In a heavy-bottomed cast iron skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in oregano, basil, rosemary and garlic. Sauté 1–2 minutes, being careful not to scorch garlic. Add French bread and sauté until croutons are thoroughly coated. Season lightly with salt. Remove croutons from skillet, spread evenly on a large cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until crisp. Set aside.

Ingredients for soup:

6 (6-ounce) cans V-8® juice

2 cups tomato juice

3 tbsps white wine vinegar

juice of ½ lemon

1 cup seeded diced tomatoes

1 cup diced cucumbers

½ cup diced green bell peppers

½ cup diced yellow bell peppers

½ cup diced zucchini

½ cup diced summer squash

¼ cup diced onion

¼ cup minced garlic

salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Louisiana hot sauce to taste

¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley

Method for Soup:

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except cilantro or parsley. Season to taste using salt, pepper and hot sauce. Stir in all but 1 tablespoon of cilantro or parsley. Cover soup tightly with plastic wrap and chill a minimum of 4–6 hours. To serve, pour gazpacho into chilled cups or bowls and top with croutons and a sprinkle of cilantro or parsley.

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