Peach Gazpacho with Shrimp Ceviche

When peaches are ripe or a little overripe, cut them up, throw them into the blender with lime juice, stir in some crunchy veggies and enjoy this sweet, spicy, smooth, crunchy, delectable chilled soup. It gives tomato gazpacho some stiff competition. 

Possibly you are old enough to remember the good old days. Those warm summers when you would decide you wanted to make a fresh peach pie. You would go to the market and buy as many perfectly ripe peaches as you wanted--and nectarines, berries, plums, apricots--any fruit your heart desired ready to be purchased--all ripe. 

Things aren't quite the same now. Instead of going through my recipes and deciding what I want to make, I go to the supermarket or farmer's market and choose the best and ripest fruit available. Then I go home and decide what I want to make with it.

That's how this peach gazpacho came to be. I was in Costco and in front of me was a flat of the most gorgeous peaches I had seen in a very long time.  They passed all three ripeness tests: Their color was deep golden; they felt a little soft when gently squeezed; and the skin around the stem was slightly shriveled.  (Wrinkled skin means the water has evaporated and the flavor is more intense.)

The peaches were so good that all I did was blend them with a little lime juice and salt to balance the sweetness and stir in some radishes, onions and jalapenos.  When I served the gazpacho to friends for lunch, I added a dollop of shrimp ceviche to enrich it.

Here are a few helpful hints for making the soup:

  • I used to peel peaches by blanching them in a pot of boiling water for 20 seconds and then plunging them into ice water. I now use a sharp vegetable peeler, one with a serrated edge, and peel them like an apple.  
  • When limes are inexpensive, purchase a big bag.  Squeeze the juice and freeze it in ice cube trays. Pop out the cubes by running them under cool water and refreeze them in heavy baggies. One cube = 2 tablespoons juice. 
  •  I like jarred jalapenos better than fresh ones in cooking. The heat level in fresh chilies can vary from one to the next, where jarred ones all have the exact same heat.  
  •  Be sure to taste the soup and adjust the lime juice and salt, if needed. 
  • The soup is easy to multiply. Just blend it in batches.

Gazpacho

2¼ pounds ripe peaches (about 5 large), peeled, pitted and chopped
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons julienne cut radishes
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon minced jarred or fresh jalapeno

Shrimp Ceviche

6 oz. medium or large cooked shrimp
½ to ¾ cup lime juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
¾ to 1 tablespoon minced jarred or fresh jalapeno

To make Gazpacho: Put the peaches, ¼ cup lime juice and salt in blender and blend until smooth. Taste and if desired, add more lime juice. Pour into a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. 
MAKE AHEAD: Gazpacho may be refrigerated up to 8 hours.

To make Ceviche: Put shrimp into a bowl that it fits in comfortably. You don’t want it too big or the lime juice won’t cover it.  Pour lime juice over, cover and refrigerate for one hour. Drain well.  Return to bowl and stir in onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
MAKE AHEAD: Ceviche may be refrigerated up to 6 hours.

To serve: Taste gazpacho for lime juice and salt. Divide it among 4 bowls, preferably glass. Top each with a dollop of ceviche. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

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