9.13.09: all veggie dinner–gazpacho, poached eggs and the best vinaigrette ever.

Gazpacho pre-blend

Gazpacho pre-blend

By now, it should come as no surprise that vegetables and I do not make a likely pair—I mean I like them well enough when in a way that tastes good to me, but I tend to not openly embrace them.   The events of the past few weeks, however, have encouraged me to embrace change, and after seeing Anne Burrell making what appeared to be a positively delicious looking gazpacho Saturday morning, the idea of having a night of mainly vegetables snuck its way into my head.  While you won’t see me permanently eschewing meat (especially prosciutto), this little foray into vegetarianism was a lovely interlude, and a delicious way to take advantage of the last of the tomatoes available from New Jersey.

Poached Eggs with Garlic/Sherry Vinaigrette and Baguette

Poached Eggs with Garlic/Sherry Vinaigrette and Baguette

The key to Burrell’s gazpacho is adequate seasoning—you want to be able to draw out as much liquid as possible to help the soup become, well, soup-like, and it will allow all of the other vegetables to fuse their flavors together.  It’s what keeps the ingredients from being a simple puree of vegetables into one coherent dish.   For the most part we stuck to Anne’s recipe, but we added a hot pepper and some crushed red pepper to give the soup a little bite.

As for the other dishes, we went with some familiar tapas that we’ve enjoyed in the past, such as my poached eggs with roasted garlic/sherry vinaigrette, some braised leeks that here have been covered by a light shaving of Pecorino cheese, and some slices of Spanish Iberico cheese to add just a little ore substance to the meal.  I insisted on us getting the sherry vinegar that was called for in the gazpacho because I also wanted to use it here (in the past I’ve made it with white balsamic vinegar, which is good, but lacks the flavor to make the dish truly Spanish-inspired) and it really made the difference in the dressing.  The results made the dish into a sort of Spanish eggs Benedict that packed a much richer flavor (at least in my opinion) than the typical Hollandaise, and our eggs looked so pretty (and had perfectly runny yolks) thanks to us following advice from a recent entry on Dinnercraft.

Dinner from Sunday

Dinner from Sunday

All in all, it was a nice alternative to meat.  There’s definitely something to be said for being an occasional vegetarian, that’s for sure.

  1. We really need to do more of that! Honestly, you’ve inspired me!

    • It’s all about balance, I think–if you’re a cheesehead like me, indulging in a really good piece of cheese to enjoy with your veggies, I think, adds some substance to the meal without weighing anything down.

      And I definitely woke up feeling energized today as a result.

  2. Ltd. said:

    That vinaigrette is unbelievable. I am not sure if I told you guys this, but the first time you made it for dinner, I woke up the next morning to a fridge containing eggs and garlic, and decided to try to recreate it from memory – it was just that good. For me, the paprika is what ties this whole thing together. If you’ve ever eaten a deviled egg, you already know that’s a winning combination. HUGE fan of the leeks, too. Speaking of which – I made the sauteed fennel/leek combination as a side dish recently (from your 08.12.09 post – one of my favorites).

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