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Gazpacho with Avocado Salsa

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Serves: 4
Ingredients:

2 slices day-old white bread, cubed
600ml / 1 pint chilled water
1kg / 2 1/4 lb fresh tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 red pepper, halved, seeded and chopped
1 fresh green chilli, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
30ml / 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon
few drops of Tabasco sauce
salt and ground black pepper
8 ice cubes, to garnish
handful of basil leaves, to garnish

For the croutons:
2 slices day-old bread, crusts removed
1 garlic clove, halved
15ml / 1 tbsp olive oil

For the avocado salsa:
1 ripe avocado
5ml / 1 tsp lemon juice
2.5cm / 1 in piece cucumber, diced
1/2 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

Method:

Place the bread in a large bowl and pour over 150ml / 1/4 pint of the water. Leave to soak for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place the tomatoes in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds, then peel off the skin, remove the seeds and finely chop the flesh. Thinly peel the cucumber, cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Discard the inner part and chop the flesh.

Place the bread, tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, chilli, garlic, olive oil, citrus juices and Tabasco in a food processor or blender with the remaining 450ml / 1 3/4 pint chilled water and blend until well combined but still chunky. Season to taste and chill for 2-3 hours. To make the croutons, rub the slices of bread with the garlic clove. Cut the bread into cubes and place in a plastic bag with the olive oil. Seal the bag and shake until the bread cubes are coated with the oil.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan and fry the croutons over a medium heat until crisp and golden. Just before serving, make the avocado salsa. Halve the avocado, remove the stone (pit), then peel and dice. Toss the avocado in the lemon juice to prevent it from browning, then place it in a serving bowl and add the cucumber and chilli. Mix well. Ladle the soup into four chilled bowls and add a couple of ice cubes to each. Top each portion with a good spoonful of avocado salsa. Garnish with the basil and sprinkle the croutons over the top of the salsa.


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