I grew up helping my mom blanch and peel tomatoes for her gazpacho. I moved on to do the same thing in restaurant kitchens. But these days I simply chop everything up, toss it in a bowl to marinate for an hour or so, and then blend it in a high powered blender. There are a few variations included here. I think they are all delicious.
2 1/2 pounds super ripe tomatoes (this is a great use of "seconds" tomatoes)
2 smaller Persian or pickling cucumbers, or 1/2-1 larger hothouse or slicing cucumber
1/2 bell pepper, seeded
1/4- 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and cut in half or 1/2-1 poblano pepper
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1-2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
optional: a piece of day old bread (such as a baguette with the crust cut off) soak in water until soggy and then squeeze the water out
salt and pepper
If blanching your tomatoes: Core the tomatoes and then blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Cool the tomatoes in a bowl of ice water, then slip off their skins when cool enough to touch. Chop the tomatoes coarsely, saving all the juice.
If you're not blanching tomatoes: Core and chop the tomatoes coarsely, saving all the juice.
Peel and coarsely chop the cucumbers. (I don't always peel them... taste the cucumber. If the skin is bitter and tough then peel it.)
Put everything in a bowl and let marinate for as long as you like. (I've done anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight.)
You will need to make the soup in batches. Place half the contents of the bowl in a blender with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and some pepper. Process at the lowest speed until broken down. Turn the speed up to high, and purée until the soup is completely smooth.
You can strain the soup or not. As always, taste for seasoning. Repeat with the rest of the soup ingredients.
Chill the soup in the refrigerator, and serve it cold.
Serve it with a drizzle of your favorite olive oil. Corina used to serve gazpacho at Canele with a crostini with a dollop of aioli on the end and a wedge of a soft boiled egg. I also love gazpacho with shrimp, cilantro and avocado in it and some corn chips. But most often, I just dunk tons of baguette in it.