Pimenton-crusted grilled shrimp make this gazpacho a filling main course for lunch or dinner. Whole shrimp lend a dressier look, but you can dice them for easier eating.
Make Ahead: The gazpacho needs to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours or overnight. The shrimp need to marinate for 1 to 4 hours before grilling.
- 4 large ripe tomatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 4 equal pieces
- 6 ounces baguette, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1/2 seedless cucumber (unpeeled), cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 red onion, cut into small dice (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced; mash 1 of them to a paste
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 12 drops hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- 3/4 pound 16-20 count raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Leaves from 1 or 2 sprigs thyme, chopped (1 teaspoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton; may substitute chipotle powder)
Prepare the grill. If using a gas grill, preheat the grill to medium-high. If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 6 or 7 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil and place it on the grill.
Cut the tomatoes in half. Drizzle the tomatoes, bell pepper and bread with 2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle generously with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Grill for 2 or 3 minutes, then turn each piece after it picks up good grill marks. The bread should be nicely toasted, which will take about 4 minutes; the tomatoes should brown and start to soften, about 5 to 6 minutes; the bell pepper should be just tender, about 7 minutes. As each piece is done, transfer it to a cutting board to cool, and then coarsely chop, keeping the bread separate from the vegetables.
Combine 1/4 cup of the diced cucumber and 1/4 cup of the diced onion in a small bowl for later use.
Transfer the tomatoes, the bell pepper and half of the bread to a blender. Add the remaining cucumber and onion, the mashed garlic, vinegar, cumin and hot sauce; puree until smooth. With the motor running, add 6 tablespoons of the oil in a thin, steady stream until the mixture becomes smooth. Add the remaining bread to thicken the mixture, if desired, and season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate the gazpacho for at least 2 hours or overnight.
At least 1 hour but no more than 4 hours before grilling, prepare the shrimp. Place them in a medium bowl along with the remaining tablespoon of oil, the thyme, the minced garlic, smoked Spanish paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate; for best results, let the shrimp sit in the marinade for 4 hours.
Place the shrimp on the grill rack (a direct-heat, medium-high heat fire; same as for the vegetables). Cook for 2 minutes, then turn them over and cook for about 2 minutes, until they are browned and firm to the touch (cut one open to make sure it's completely opaque).
Taste the gazpacho and add salt and pepper if needed (the flavor tends to mellow once chilled). Divide among individual wide shallow bowls; top each portion with equal amounts of the grilled shrimp. Sprinkle with the reserved cucumber and onion, and serve.
From food writer Tony Rosenfeld.
Tested by Beth Marlowe.
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