The simplicity of this recipe belies how out-of-this-world wonderful it tastes.I begged David for months for the recipe because I couldn’t duplicate it. He sometimes serves this as an amuse bouche before the meal starts.Great berries are a necessity, so go to a farmers market or buy the divine Swanton strawberries sometimes sold at Whole Foods. At Manresa (his superb restaurant in Los Gatos), he uses the freshest ingredients available, of course, so be choosy in your shopping. Higher-end grocery stores like Draeger’s are more likely to carry the quality balsamic vinegar and nut oil (best: imported French oil such as J. Leblanc; the only acceptable domestic oils are by LaTourangelle) called for in the recipe. David’s recipes are presented “chef’s style,” in weight measurements rather than the volume measurements typically found in home recipes. I’ve added some further explanations in the recipe.
For 6 Persons
You will need:
1 pound plus 4 oz. of the freshest strawberries (preferably organic), hulled and lightly crushed (if the strawberries aren’t quite sweet enough, add a small amount of superfine sugar)
4 oz. white onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 oz. red bell peppers, thinly sliced
5 oz. English cucumber, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced
half a large clove of garlic, crushed
¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves (5 grams)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar (higher-quality aged vinegar will improve the final result)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (a higher-quality olive oil will improve the final result)
For the garnish: (David didn’t specify an amount for the produce, so I guestimated)
6 strawberries, hulled and cut in fine dice
1/3 bunch fresh chives, finely minced
1 red bell pepper, cut in fine dice
½ English cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut in fine dice
1-2 tablespoons high-quality imported almond oil or other nut oil (hazelnut, walnut) – it’s not a disaster if you don’t include the oil; the gazpacho is still great
fresh chervil sprigs, for garnish
Place first eight ingredients in a bowl, mix well, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.The next day, puree in a blender and season to taste with salt and fresh-ground pepper.
If it is too thick, thin with a little water.
Allow to thoroughly chill.
Can be served in various ways. My favorite is in small, tall “shot glasses” as a meal starter or as part of a little “tasting” that could also include a mini strawberry salad; see my recipe .
For larger portions, serve in soup plates (low, flat bowls).
For the garnish, gently toss all the diced vegetables and fruit, then add the almond oil and briefly mix. Mound one sixth of the garnish in the center of each soup plate, top with one sixth of the soup mixture and top with some chervil sprigs.
Optional: For a special occasion, pour the gazpacho over the garnish at the table.