Tomato season is rolling around, and soon we’ll be inundated with a bounty of tomatoes from our garden.
Part of last year’s bounty:
I’ve documented quite a few recipes for utilizing the tomato harvest. One of my favorite tomato recipes has got to be gazpacho. Gazpacho is the perfect dinner for a warm summer evening. Now I’ve found a way to boost the cancer-fighting power of this cold tomato soup, without a lot of extra work.
WARNING: GEEKY SCIENCE LANGUAGE AHEAD
Free radicals are molecules in your body that can damage your DNA and cause cancer. Antioxidants in your body neutralize these free radicals. One of the most potent antioxidants around is a chemical called lycopene. Lycopene is what gives many red fruits, including tomatoes, their color. Therefore, eating tomatoes increases the antioxidants in your body and reduces free radicals. In fact, studies have shown that increased tomato consumption is related to decreased prostate cancer risk.
Now, here’s the kicker. A recent study has shown that cooking tomatoes increases the amount of lycopene that your body will absorb. Sauces using cooked tomatoes are better for your health.
My normal gazpacho recipe simply calls for raw tomatoes to be buzzed and then strained. This time, I decided to roast the tomatoes first. I figure this will make traditional gazpacho healthier.
Roasted Tomato, Onion and Pepper Gazpacho Recipe
10 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
4 cloves garlic, skin removed
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Penzey’s Smoked Spanish Paprika
1 cup English Cucumber, chopped.
Preheat the oven to 350*F
Chop and seed the tomatoes, reserving the liquids. Lay the tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, garlic and pepper out on a foiled sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven to cool. Turn all the roasted vegetables into a pot along with the reserved tomato liquids plus a couple cups of water.
Using a stick blender, buzz the mixture together until it is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, lemon juice and smoked paprika. Chill the soup in the refrigerator until time to serve.
Ladle the gazpacho into a bowl and garnish with chopped cucumber.