3 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored
1 red bell pepper, halved and seeded
1 small red onion, quartered
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
4 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp minced fresh marjoram
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
3 slices Italian bread, toasted until crispy and cut into cubes
2 scallions, sliced or cut into strips
First, set your broiler on low. Arrange the tomatoes, pepper, and onion on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush with a little olive oil. Slide them under the broiler (as close as you can get them) and walk away for awhile. Mine took about half an hour to get all nicely charred on top, but yours may take less or more time, depending on your broiler.
At any rate, once everything is suitably bubbled and blackened, dump it into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave it to cool on the countertop. The plastic wrap will trap the steam, making the vegetables easier to peel. Which is, incidentally, the next step.
Remove the peel and discard. Transfer the broiled vegetables to your blender, along with any pan juices, and half the cucumber. Blend until thoroughly smooth. Pour the puree into a large bowl, and stir in the remaining seasonings: paprika, cumin, marjoram, oil, vinegar, salt.
Chill for at least two hours. Taste it, and adjust the seasonings. My rule of thumb: when in doubt, add more vinegar. In my mind, gazpacho is best when it tastes just slightly less acidic than salad dressing. Salt is a good one to add, too.
Ladle the gazpacho into bowls, and garnish with a pinch of scallions, a spoonful of diced cucumber, and a few bread cubes.
Serves eight to ten as a starter, six as an entree.