Manresa, 320 Village Lane (just off North Santa Cruz Avenue), Los Gatos, CA 95030
No, I have no lost my mind and added diced bell pepper and cucumber to strawberry gelato. But I am mad enough about gazpacho to eat it in any form. And if there were ever a season for strawberries, now would be it. Until the real gazpacho season comes along, the strawberry version will do very well.
Two particularly generous friends treated my sister to a birthday dinner at Manresa in Los Gatos. Manresa is one of the relatively few restaurants in the United States to receive two Michelin stars — for what that’s worth. These diners reported that they had an excellent four-course dinner, among which were two amuse-bouches. The first was a soft-boiled egg yolk at the bottom of an empty egg shell, topped with sherry-vinegar whipped cream, chives, maple syrup, and salt. You can find a version of that recipe here. The strawberry gazpacho was the second amuse-bouche. Clearly, David Kinch, the chef, is a chemist. This recipe defies logic, I suppose, only if you don’t understand the chemical reactions of incompatible ingredients, which I certainly don’t. So, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
This recipe is dead simple:
1 pound, 4 ounces strawberries, hulled and lightly crushed
4 ounces white onions, thinly sliced
4 ounces red bell peppers, thinly sliced
5 ounces cucumber, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced
1 half clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Strawberries, hulled and finely diced
Chives, finely minced
Red bell pepper, finely diced
English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
1-2 tablespoons almond oil
Chervil sprigs (if you can find them)
Put first 8 ingredients in a bowl; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, puree the ingredients in a blender and season with salt and pepper. Thin with water if too thick. Allow to chill thoroughly before serving.
To garnish, mix together all the minced vegetables and fruit with almond oil. Mound in the center of a soup plate; top with chervil sprigs.
Shadowcook: The only observation I would contribute to this recipe is that it is easy to overdo the garnish. The garnish only exists for crunch, although the almond oil is a nice touch. You’ll appreciate the silky smooth texture of the gazpacho if you remember that less is more.
Update: watch the salt.
Up-update: David Kinch’s recipe is posted online. He provided it to a TV show in which he appeared. Google it, if you feel the need to check me.