The gazpacho that appears on the summer menu at the Iberian Pig stays true to the traditional formula of ripe tomatoes, vegetables, herbs, olive oil, and vinegar. What distinguishes Eric Roberts’s version from the original Andalusian recipe is the assembly. Instead of pounding the ingredients together with a mortar and pestle, he purees the tomatoes in a Vitamix. To add more textural contrast and visual appeal, he chops and folds in other vegetables and herbs by hand.
1 Halve 4 large, ripe heirloom tomatoes from stem to bottom, cut out cores, then quarter. Place in a blender, in batches if necessary, and pulse until smooth. (If desired, press through a sieve for an even silkier soup base.) Pour puree into a large glass bowl and set aside.
2 Peel and dice 1 medium red onion.
3 Core and halve 2 large red bell peppers. Remove seeds and membranes, and dice.
4 Remove ends of 2 hydroponic cucumbers. Vertically slice off four sides around the seedy center. Discard center, and dice each of the sides.
5 Add vegetables to tomato puree. Remove stems from 1 bunch fresh cilantro. Chiffonade leaves, and add to the bowl.
6 Add ¼ cup each sherry vinegar and extra virgin olive oil; slowly stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are fully incorporated. Season to taste with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
7 Refrigerate mixture in a covered container for at least 2 hours before serving.
Roberts’s crouton recipe
To make the croutons: Heat oven to 350°F. Slice a baguette ¼-inch thick and again into small squares. Place onto a sheet pan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh cracked black pepper. Toast in the oven until edges begin to crisp, 5 to 10 minutes.
About Eric Roberts
As a young boy in Rome, Georgia, Roberts would shuck corn and snap pole beans from his grandparents’ garden for Sunday feasts. He earned his first kitchen paycheck at a local diner as a teenager. Eventually he made his way to the big city, helping Buckhead Life Restaurant Group open Kyma in 2001. Two years ago he took over as executive chef of Decatur’s beloved Spanish outpost, the Iberian Pig.
This article originally appeared in our August 2016 issue.