Gazpacho Salad

Layered salad in a tall glass bowl. There are lots of steps, but Myriam used to say NEVER skip any of them. Cut and flavor each item separately, and you want the tomatoes and cucumbers to drain well before they go into their final phase or they will exude so much water you will have a soup rather than a salad. Serves 8 or more.


3 c. tomatoes, diced
salt and dash red wine vinegar
2 cucumbers, diced
1/4 tsp sugar
2 green bell peppers and 2 red bell peppers
1 red onion
3 celery stalks
2 c. French bread, broken into small pieces (see recipe below)
2 or 3 ripe firm avocados
2 minced shallots or scallions
4 T minced parsley

capers, olives, or anchovies for final decoration ( optional)

The Herbal Oil and Garlic Dressing
3 large cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
zest of 1/2 lemon
handful of fresh basil leaves
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 T lemon juice


The tomatoes:
Dice the tomatoes and fold together in a bowl with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tsp wine vinegar. Let stand 5 minutes, then turn into a sieve set over a bowl to drain while you continue.

The cucumbers:
Peel the cucumbers, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, and scoop out their seeds with a spoon. Dice and toss in a bowl with 1 T wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp sugar. Let stand 5 minutes, then turn into a sieve set over a bowl to drain.

The peppers, onions, and celery:
Dice the green and red peppers and place in a bowl. Peel and dice the red onion ( you should have about 2/3 cup), and drop for 15 seconds in a pan of boiling water to remove strong bite. Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again. Add to the peppers. Dice the celery, add to the peppers, and then toss all together with a dash of wine vinegar to taste. Set aside.

The croutons:
Tear bread into very small pieces.

The avocados:
Halve, seed , peel, and dice the avocados. Rinse in cold water to prevent discoloration and set aside.

The herbal oil and garlic dressing:
Peel the garlic cloves and push them through a garlic press. Put the garlic in a mortar and pestle and pound it with 1 tsp salt and the lemon zest. Add and pound the basil into the puree. Add the mustard, the lemon juice, and the oil.

FINALLY - Arraging the gazpacho salad:
4 to 6 hrs before serving.
Be sure the tomatoes are well drained, toss the cucumbers and the pepper-onion mixture in paper towels to dehumidify. The ingredients are to be spread in layers, to make an attractive design when you look through the glass.
Spread 1/4 of the croutons evenly in the bottom of the bowl, cover with 1/3 of the pepper-onion mixture, then 1/3 of the avocados, 1/3 the tomatoes, 1/3 of the cucumbers, then 1/4 of the dressing.
Continue with croutons, pepper-onion mixture, avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, dressing and so on , ending with a layer of croutons, then the remaining sauce.
Toss the shallots and parsley together and spread over the top. Cover closely with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Just before serving, decorate with capers, olives, or anchovies, if you wish.

Leftovers are still good the next day, or may be ground up in a blender or food processor with tomato juice to make a gazpacho soup.