Beet gazpacho. (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Photo: Kirk McKoy
Photo: Kirk McKoy

Beets headline this gazpacho

It’s a striking deep red color, the chilled beet soup rich and thick, garnished with colorful orange segments and crumbled goat cheese, but you might never guess how easy it is to make. When reader Janie Uyehara of Hermosa Beach and her husband were visiting Washington, D.C., they stopped by chef Jose Andres’ restaurant Jaleo in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Va.

The couple fell in love with the celebrated Spanish chef’s gazpacho de remolacha and have been wanting to re-create the dish at home. The soup is a simple puree of cooked beets, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and garlic, with a touch of sherry vinegar to brighten the flavors and Spanish olive oil for additional richness. This is a great dish to make ahead of time, especially if you’re serving company; simply keep the soup well chilled until ready to serve. Enjoy, Janie.

Jaleo’s Gazpacho de Remolacha

1 hour, 15 minutes. Serves 4.

1 pound trimmed beets

1 pound tomatoes, cored and chopped

1 small cucumber (about ½ pound), chopped

1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1 clove garlic

2 ½ tablespoons oloroso sherry

¼ cup sherry vinegar

¼ cup olive oil, preferably Spanish

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 oranges

2 ounces fresh goat cheese, for garnish

1. In a heavy pot, boil the beets in plenty of water to cover until soft, 40 to 60 minutes, depending on size. Drain and peel under cold running water, then coarsely chop.

2. In a blender, combine the beets, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, garlic, sherry, vinegar, oil and salt and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired.

3. Supreme the oranges: Using a very sharp knife, cut off the top and the bottom of the fruit so it will sit flat on the cutting board. Starting where you see the orange separate from the white pith, cut away one section of peel and pith, following the line of the fruit. This will expose the underlying fruit. Continue cutting away sections of the peel and pith until only fruit remains. When you’re done, go back over the fruit, removing any traces of pith. Separate each segment, or supreme.

4. Serve the gazpacho garnished with the orange supremes and crumbled goat cheese.

Note: Adapted from a recipe by chef Jose Andres of the Jaleo restaurant group.

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