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Gazpacho using canned tomatoes?

d
DKS1 Sep 9, 2009 02:19 PM

I love, love, love Alton Brown's gazpacho recipe. The two times I've made it (earlier this summer), I have always cursed myself for not tripling or even quadrupling the recipe! However, I find the blanching, peeling, seeding, chopping, etc. process quite overwhelming - especially if I want to double or triple the recipe.

Can I use canned tomatoes and expect it to taste even half as good? I am sincerely hoping that you all have had a good experience doing this with your favorite gazpacho recipes... I only end up using a cup or less tomato juice when I use fresh tomatoes, so I'm just curious what I will have to do if I substitute canned.

And, if I'm not ousted with this question, what type/brand of canned tomatoes should I use?

Thanks in advance for any feedback...

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  1. j
    jeremyn RE: DKS1 Sep 9, 2009 02:36 PM

    Except at the peak of tomato season, I find canned tomatoes to be vastly superior to what I can find in the grocery store.

    HOWEVER, I have yet to find a way to make canned tomatoes taste good in gazpacho.

    If you're going to try it, use the best canned tomatoes you can find (or your favorite). I like Muir Glen brand. Many others will suggest Italian imports.

    If you find a way to make it work (or a recipe), please let me know!

    2 Replies
    1. re: jeremyn
      Scargod RE: jeremyn Sep 11, 2009 10:16 AM

      Some brands, perhaps Muir and others, are using plastic coated cans. I am assuming this goes a long way towards eliminating the 'tinny" taste.
      I have only used fresh and only make it when I can find (or am growing), good tomatoes.

      1. re: Scargod
        j
        jeremyn RE: Scargod Feb 15, 2010 05:05 PM

        Indeed, muir glen uses the coated cans you're talking about. There is no tinny taste to them at all. Of course, it's still a far different taste from fresh tomatoes.

        However, fresh tomatoes are only good for 2 months of the year, and quality canned are far better during the other 10 months (where I live). Despite that, I follow your strategy of only making gazpacho during the two months when I can get good fresh tomatoes.

    2. ipsedixit RE: DKS1 Sep 9, 2009 02:52 PM

      Yes, of course you can. Won't be as good as using ripe fresh tomatoes, but it's more than passable.

      Some tips. Use a good EVOO and allow the soup to chill overnight so that the flavors all have time to blend, which will enhance the "tomato-y-ness" of the canned tomatoes with the other ingredients.

      1. chefj RE: DKS1 Sep 9, 2009 03:03 PM

        I find that making Gazpacho with any canned ingredients at all taste strongly "tinny". I really do not think that it is worth making. It will not be even half as good. The up side is that you can make it with hot house tomatoes and get a reasonable good gazpacho. I do not think you need to do "blanching, peeling, seeding, chopping, etc. Just peel the cucumbers, blend and strain through a medium chinoise. It will catch any skin and seeds.

        2 Replies
        1. re: chefj
          ipsedixit RE: chefj Sep 9, 2009 03:22 PM

          chefj,

          I generally agree with you that canned tomatoes impart a "tinny" or metaltic taste to the soup, done poorly it can almost be like drinking ketchup.

          That said, I feel like I can make a pretty good facsimile of "real" gazpacho using canned tomatoes when I make sure there are other seasonings and ingredients involved, eg. tobasco sauce, sherry vinegar, EVOO, garlic, Lea & Perrins, etc.

          1. re: ipsedixit
            chefj RE: ipsedixit Sep 9, 2009 03:45 PM

            Tabasco and Lea & Perrins ???? In Spain they would shoot you! ( - :

        2. Veggo RE: DKS1 Sep 9, 2009 03:42 PM

          Gong on canned. Gong on blanching, peeling, seeding. Core your fresh 'maters and chop 'em up. Dicing the onions, peppers, and cukes will wear your paws out, why should the softest veggie put you on tilt? Keep it fresh, keep it simple.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Veggo
            chefj RE: Veggo Sep 9, 2009 04:05 PM

            Are you making a soup or a salad? Because Gazpacho is a soup

            1. re: chefj
              Veggo RE: chefj Sep 9, 2009 05:11 PM

              Duh. I didn't think the 31/2 cups tomato juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and S&P deserved special mention. The fresh veggies are what it's all about. And I completely agree with you about no hot sauce, no Worcestershire, no canned tomatoes. I guess I am not communicating well this century.

              1. re: Veggo
                chefj RE: Veggo Sep 9, 2009 05:20 PM

                I guess that you are not communicating well where "31/2 cups tomato juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and S&P" come from? Also most tomato juice is not a fresh product.

          2. t
            tastesgoodwhatisit RE: DKS1 Sep 10, 2009 08:50 PM

            We do this all the time.

            Canned tomatoes won't be as nice as gazpacho made with fresh, ripe, in season tomatoes. But in general I prefer canned tomatoes unless I can get fresh, ripe, in season tomatoes, which is basically only a few months in the year.

            It does help to make the gazpacho the day before, to give the flavours a change to blend nicely. Check the label on the tomatoes, and use ones that are just tomatoes, with no added herbs and seasonings.

            1. d
              dmd_kc RE: DKS1 Sep 10, 2009 09:50 PM

              I've never tried Alton's recipe (I often find his instructions waaaaaay needlessly complex -- and don't get me started on his using a canned mushroom soup in his stroganoff), but I can't see any reason to peel and especially to seed tomatoes for gazpacho.

              But to your question: The flavor of canned (cooked) tomatoes is just a different thing altogether from raw, and I have a hard time "picturing" that taste in a gazpacho. I don't think they taste tinny necessarily -- my own I've put up in glass jars have the same character as any good canned commercial variety. It's one of the vegetables that changes the most when it cooks, in my opinion, from one delicious thing to another delicious thing!

              I'd say deviate from Alton's advice on that detail and see if you don't like the result just as much with the skins and seeds intact.

              1. s
                Sharuf RE: DKS1 Sep 12, 2009 05:45 AM

                Gazpacho is a seasonal thing. I pretty much follow James Michener's recipe in his book IBERIA, trying to replicate gazpacho I've had in Seville.

                Do not use canned tomatoes or tomato juice!

                Use backyard tomatoes, or ones from the farmer's market. Take out the seeds. Use peeled, seeded cucumber. Use onion. Use red pepper (I like to roast it first). Use some rich chicken broth. Use fresh breadcrumbs. Use a bit of garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and paprika.

                Pop it all into the blender and whirl away.

                It must sit a few hours or overnight to be right.

                I like to garnish with chopped cucumber and sliced green olives.

                1. pikawicca RE: DKS1 Sep 12, 2009 06:22 AM

                  If I feel the urge to make gazpacho when tomatoes aren't in season, I use Campbell's tomato juice as the base. It's quite good -- no tinny flavor.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: pikawicca
                    Veggo RE: pikawicca Sep 12, 2009 08:57 AM

                    That's my go-to also, the low sodium, for basic, mild gazpacho. This thread is a bit fragmented because of a few deletions, but I have posted my recipe several times. Sharuf's Iberian version sounds really good, and beyond basic. I want to try it with the roasted peppers and olives, but maybe for a cup rather than a bowl. Seeds in tomatoes and cucumbers for me are no big deal, and blanching and peeling tomatoes is superfluous. But I would not think of using canned tomatoes.
                    FWIW, the inside walls and caps of most cans are coated with an effective polymer in this day and age, so product does not touch metal. The notion of "tinny" tastes of items in cans is more in one's imagination.

                    1. re: pikawicca
                      enbell RE: pikawicca Sep 12, 2009 04:09 PM

                      Great idea! Talk about a "duh" moment. I also quite like V-8, sometimes the spicy variety; do you think this would be too great a deviation from what gazpacho ought to taste like?

                      1. re: enbell
                        pikawicca RE: enbell Sep 12, 2009 06:11 PM

                        There are many cold tomato soups that I like that aren't classic gazpacho. If you like V-8, I think that you'd like a soup made with it. I say go for it, but I'm certainly not a gazpacho purist.

                    2. Passadumkeg RE: DKS1 Sep 12, 2009 05:27 PM

                      I don't used canned, but I don't peal or seed fresh either; a good compromise. Just take out the stem, through in blender (processor) and let 'er rip. Good enough.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                        the_MU RE: Passadumkeg Sep 16, 2009 04:23 PM

                        When I make "gazpacho" (in quotes because I don't claim any authenticity), I don't want puree. I like mine chunky, almost like salsa fresca. Biggest difference between my salsa and my gazpacho is the presence of cuke and bell pepper, and the possible absence of cilantro. But then I sometimes eat salsa from a bowl with a spoon.

                        Peeling & seeding is no biggie if you have good tomatoes. You can peel a good ripe tomato without blanching it, practically with your fingers, and seeding one isn't much harder than picking your nose. Rub the seeds & seed pulp through a strainer and you've got your own fresh tomato juice.

                        1. re: the_MU
                          The Professor RE: the_MU Sep 16, 2009 04:36 PM

                          Ditto here on NOT pureed. I also prefer my gazpacho to be full of chunky goodness. I have also used canned tomatoes when I've had to, and do not detect any "tinniness" in the results at all. The cans (at least the ones I buy) are after all well lined with a coating to prevent that very thing.

                          1. re: the_MU
                            Scargod RE: the_MU Sep 16, 2009 06:39 PM

                            Oh, geez, please don't say salsa fresca, chunky and gazpacho in the same breath.

                            1. re: the_MU
                              Passadumkeg RE: the_MU Sep 17, 2009 12:33 AM

                              It's called blender finesse. I'm very chunky, just ask Scardiety and I don't make no yuppie salsa fresca I make a wicked good pico de gallo while holding my breath, Scar.

                              1. re: Passadumkeg
                                Scargod RE: Passadumkeg Sep 17, 2009 05:02 AM

                                This is a lot like a favorite salsa I had at Tequila's in Rancho de Taos, NM:
                                6 cups ripe, red tomatoes, seeded
                                1 cup cilantro leaves, minced
                                3 tablespoons crushed fresh garlic
                                2 tablespoons salt
                                1/2 teaspoon white pepper
                                1 teaspoon cumin
                                4 tablespoons Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce (or jalapenos or serranos, chopped fine)
                                6 limes: juice of 6 average sized limes

                                Coarse chop everything. Put some lime juice in the blender and get garlic and jalapenos broken down, then add everything else and blend to the chunkiness you like. Let it sit a while. No cooking allowed!
                                The key to this is fresh, ripe, tasty tomatoes. I have added a tiny bit of sugar, too.

                          2. zhizara RE: DKS1 Feb 11, 2010 08:06 AM

                            I too hated the idea of all the prep work, plus having to buy so many ingredients. I thought about using chunky salsa (WalMart has mild, medium and hot) with tomato juice. I really liked it. I just added a few spoonfuls until I had the consistency I liked. It's cheap enough to try and if you do, tell me (us) what you think.

                            Zhizara

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