The first time I visited Jaleo was about 10 years ago, and I had come out to DC to see Dana, who I think was living in that little dairy ice box place. We met up with Lori for a day of sightseeing on the mall; our wanderings made us hot and hungry and we stumbled upon this lapis-blue-tiled Mediterranean oasis of tapas awesomeness. I remember feeling incredibly grown-up and sophisticated, sitting there at the bar (drinking lemonade) without parents or other restraints.
Years later when I actually lived in DC, I managed to track this place down and it was every bit as good as I remembered. Since then I’ve been often with friends and have a lot of great memories (Becky’s going away party before she left for Tanzania! Dana’s 30-birthday sister lunch!).
Chef Jose Andres makes the best gazpacho EVER and he has kindly disseminated the recipe. Dana says she doesn’t use the full amount of olive oil and it is still awesome; I experiment with the amount each time I make it, depending on how fattening I am feeling that day. It makes 4 main-course servings or 8 first-course servings.
For the gazpacho:
10 (2 pounds) plum tomatoes, quartered
1 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or more to taste
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
1 to 2 teaspoon salt
For the garnish:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
1 slice rustic white bread
12 cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
1 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 pearl onions, quartered and separated into segments
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
4 chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the gazpacho: In a blender or food processor, add the tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper, garlic, sherry vinegar and water and blend until the mixture becomes a thick liquid. Taste for acidity (this will vary with the sweetness of the tomatoes) and add more vinegar if necessary. Add the oil and salt. Blend again briefly to thoroughly incorporate the oil. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher or large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cool, at least 30 minutes.
For the garnish: Meanwhile, in a small saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When it is shimmering, add the bread and cook until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes. Break the bread into small pieces to form about 16 croutons and set aside.
To assemble the soup, distribute the croutons, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and onions evenly among the bowls and drizzle with sherry vinegar and the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and chives. At the table, pour the chilled gazpacho over the garnish. Serve immediately.
Adapted from “Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America,” by Jose Andres (Clarkson Potter, 2005, $35).
206 calories, 21g fat, 3g saturated fat, n/a cholesterol, 297mg sodium, 6g carbohydrates, 2g dietary fiber, n/a sugar, 1g protein.