When tomatoes are in season we look for every excuse to use them. We make pasta sauces and add them to tagines and ragouts, soups, and a variety of salads. This recipe came about because we had a little gazpacho left that was so tasty we wanted to use it in some way. As we had often served avocado with a tomato basil vinaigrette, a gazpacho vinaigrette seemed logical. While this vinaigrette is excellent with just avocado, it is especially nice with shellfish. Of course, lobster would be great (and expensive) but shrimp would do nicely too.
Puree about one-third of the tomatoes in a food processor (see Note) and pour into a mixing bowl. Pulse the remaining tomatoes so that they are chunky. If you’re using both red and yellow tomatoes, puree just the red for color and use chunks of yellow and red for accent. Add the tomato chunks to the puree.
Add the white onion and garlic to the processor and process until completely liquefied, adding a little of the vinegar if necessary. Add to the tomatoes.
Pulse the cucumbers in the processor until finely chopped and add to the tomato mixture.
Add the bell peppers, red onion, olive oil, and vinegar. Stir well with a spoon but do not mix with a whisk or the vegetables will lose their texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Some people like their gazpacho fairly spicy, but I only add heat if the tomatoes are not really sweet. If you want to heat this up, add a dash of hot red pepper sauce or Worcestershire sauce.) Refrigerate the vinaigrette at least 1 hour. In fact, you may make this the day before you serve it.
If you decide to serve this with shrimp, heat just enough white wine to cover the shrimp in a sauté pan to simmering. Add the shrimp, cover, and gently simmer until cooked through. This may take 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp. Remove the shrimp to a plate and chill them.
To serve, make a bed of the greens on each of 4 salad plates. Pit and peel the avocados and cut into chunks. Add the avocados and shrimp to the greens. Ladle a generous amount of the gazpacho vinaigrette over each salad and serve at once.
© 1998 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.