The first and only time I’ve had pineapple gazpacho was in St. Lucia in the Caribbean. It was the first course of a five-course meal provided by the chef of the hotel, as part of our farm to table adventure, part one and part two.
The whole meal was stunning, but the gazpacho was especially memorable. Maybe because we participated in picking the pineapple in the field.
Or maybe because I got to play chef in the “cold” room of the hotel’s kitchen where the prep work is done. I actually put the gazpacho together without knowing any ratios. But I faked it pretty well because the chef approved when he tasted it… although he hinted I’d used too much hot sauce. And he was from Mexico!
Here I am in the kitchen prepping the gazpacho, having used a very dull knife, I must say. I chopped a peeled pineapple, core and all, along with a peeled cucumber, then added yogurt, hot sauce, oil, honey, and a little cherry vinegar, which is in my hand. There is white bread soaking in milk on my right.
Then the chef put everything in a vitamix, and pureed everything well, without creating much heat. I think it was for this reason that he added ice cubes as well. Then, using a very large chinois, the soup was strained.
At that point we left the prep kitchen and moved into the main kitchen where the chef prepared some sashimi for us, and we watched him cut up the kingfish, which was to be our main. Eventually we were seated on the outside deck with a view of the ocean, crisp white wine in hand.
Then here came the pineapple gazpacho. Isn’t it beautiful!
It was topped with chopped baby shrimp, cucumber, tomato and a few cilantro leaves, then drizzled with a little unknown oil.
So today I’m going to duplicate this gazpacho, if I can, although the tropical ambiance won’t be the same.
3 slices white bread with the crusts
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 medium-sized pineapple, peeled
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded
1/3 cup greek yogurt
Small bunch of cilantro leaves (the chef did not include cilantro in the gazpacho)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
Soak the bread in the cream in a small bowl. I actually used about 6″ of a sourdough baguette.
Combine everything in a large bowl, including the soaked bread.
Then transfer to a jar of a vitamix or blender and blend until very smooth.
Pour the whole mixture into a sieve and strain well. The chef actually used a chinois.
Refrigerate for at least two hours, then taste for seasoning.
Just before serving, I topped the soup with a few baby shrimp and a cilantro leaf. The chef topped his with some chopped shrimp, tomato and cucumber, and a few sprigs of cilantro.
Verdict: I wouldn’t change these ingredients at all, except maybe to replace the yogurt with sour cream or crème fraiche. I also used cilantro in the soup, which the chef didn’t, but it only enhances the other flavors. And it creates a prettier color. However, I would use a chinois next time. Mine was good, but I preferred the smoother texture created by the chinois. The chef’s presentation is much prettier than mine, but that’s not surprising. After all, he’s a chef. But my gazpacho tastes exactly like his!