Gazpacho (Cold Tomato Soup)

from The Art of Mexican Cooking by Aaron and Salom

5 almonds, blanched
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
3 pounds ripe tomatoes
1/3 cup green pepper, finely chopped
1/3 onion, finely chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled and diced well
2 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper

Mash the almonds with the garlic and a few drops of oil until it becomes a paste. Put them in the bottom of an earthenware or pottery bowl. Singe the tomatoes over an open flame; peel them, and chop into rather large chunks. Do not crush the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes in the bowl; add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well. Chill several hours before serving. When serving, place a tablespoon of crushed ice in each soup bowl.

NOTE: Croutons, sauteed in a small amount of sweet butter, are sometimes served as a garnish with this soup.

Comments: I don't usually singe the tomatoes or serve it with ice in the bowls, and I use V8 instead of tomato juice. We have served gazpacho as a "punch."

Serves 9-10.

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