As it turns out, gazpacho is one of those dishes that everyone seems to have a recipe for, but none of them even come close to matching.  I learned this the hard way this weekend while staring down several pounds of beautifully ripe heirloom tomatoes that I picked up at the H Street FreshFarm Market on Saturday.

If you’ve been to a farmers’ market recently, you know that we are finally enjoying the bounty of late summer produce that our area puts forth: tomatoes in all shapes and sizes, peaches, peppers, summer squash, and watermelons are out in force.  This is the BEST time to visit your local market, as the prices are good and the produce is better.  And with the cost of conventional groceries on the rise, shopping farmers’ markets for your fruits and vegetables is becoming a truly viable option for most Washingtonians.

On my visit, I found myself picking up a bumper crop of heirloom tomatoes along with some peppers, squash and eggplants.  I knew that I wanted to make my favorite cold soup, but I was uncertain how best to proceed.  What I found when I consulted some of our more trusted cookbook resources (Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food, The Bon Appetit Cookbook) and several internet sources was something of a consensus on ingredients but no clear winner in terms of process.

Rather than following any one recipe to the letter, I opted to take in their combined wisdom and turn it into my own version of gazpacho.  And – in the interest of perpetuating the Babel-like proliferation of gazpacho recipes on the internet – I’m about to share it with you.

Ingredients, process, and an insider’s tip after the jump. (more…)