Go Ahead. Take a Bite of this Exciting Apple Balsamic and Try your First Gazpacho!

Appetizers / August 31, 2021

This is like the freshest crudité platter in your mouth, with a bright kick from the most amazing apple balsamic vinegar. The addition of one simple ingredient elevated this delicious cold soup to a show-stopping explosion of flavor. The addition of honey, and nutmeg as well as a small bit of cream stirred in right before serving and your guests will never stop talking about how imaginative and masterful you are in the kitchen.

We’re at the jumping off place for entering autumn. It’s that time of year when nature exhales a breath of cool air, painting weary green trees with bold reds and oranges. We begin to crave hot soups, knobby sweaters, bonfires, and early sunsets. And it’s when the apple reaches its apex of availability and flavor.

For some the apple is the symbol of man’s beginning, an edible catalyst between innocence and knowledge. Cultivated since the 17th century the Gravenstein Apple, this month’s featured ingredient, is known for its creamy white flesh. Honey-scented with a crisp, smooth texture, they are perfect for cider, or dried fruits. And guess what, they absolutely sing in a sophisticated but VERY easy gazpacho made with roasted broccoli, apples, and fresh ginger. (I also added a bit of honey and fresh nutmeg for excitement.) But although fall’s arrival is imminent, we’re NOT quite there yet. However, I have good news. There is a way to serve your guests a first course that bridges the gap between your love of Indian summer’s sticky nights and fall’s chilly tingle.

But let’s get to the details! This month’s recipe features a Gravenstein Apple White Balsamic Vinegar from Olive This! It is a recipe easy to master, and one that will make you popular at any fall dinner party. So, why is this balsamic worth trying? Well, when I first tasted it, I wanted to just pour it into an aperitif glass and sip it all day long. There are notes of honey, with an herbal but cinnamoney kind of depth, a sweetness that isn’t too overpowering and the right acidity to be perfect for any vinaigrette or sauce. You could pour it over roasted figs and ice cream, topped with cracked black pepper! Blend it with honey and yogurt for the perfect fruit dip. Add a bit of it to some jam and slather it over a ham roast. I just can’t say enough about its versatility and beauty.

Now, to answer the burning question. Why blend it with broccoli? Well, when roasted, broccoli takes on another identity. It’s bright pops of green blossoms not only look pretty in this soup, but they also lend a fresh vegetal quality you’ll love. Also, I must say you can almost not overdo it with this balsamic. There is a LOT of the Balsamic in the soup. It takes center stage but dances so well with all the other flavors I’m certain I was predestined to make this soup and share the recipe with you.

I encourage you to give this a try. The first bite is unexpectedly yummy! Your first gazpacho is a bit of a milestone you need to experience as a cook, a hostess, and as a human. Sans the fig leaf and the serpent, just take one bite of this soup and you’ll never be the same.

Apple, Broccoli, and Ginger Gazpacho

Serves 4 – 6


INGREDIENTS:


½ C Olive This! Gravenstein Apple White Balsamic Vinegar divided (it’s added Tablespoons at a time. See method for clarity.)
7 C cut up broccoli florets
2 large Granny Smith apples (4 C) peeled and diced into large chunks
1/3 very large, sweet onion large dice
¼ C olive oil
2 t kosher salt + ½ t black pepper (more at the end before serving if needed. SEE NOTES)
1 heaping T freshly grated gingerroot
3 C Swanson’s Chicken Stock (can use vegetable stock but don’t use sodium free)
½ t grated fresh nutmeg (can use from a bottle if you don’t have nutmeg pods to grate.)
2 T honey
Handful of freshly chopped Italian parsley to serve.
1 – 2 t of heavy cream for each bowl when serving.

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Toss the cut apples, onion, and broccoli with the olive oil, 2 t kosher salt and ½ t black pepper. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake until soft, about 25-30 minutes. Remove, let cool for about 30 minutes. Working in 2 batches take half of the cooled apple broccoli mixture and place in a blender. Add 1 ½ C of the Chicken Stock. Blend on mix until all incorporated. Remove lid and add ½ of the grated ginger, ¼ t of freshly ground nutmeg, 3 T of the Gravenstein Apple Balsamic Vinegar and 1 T honey. Replace lid. Now puree until smooth, about 20 seconds or so. Pour into a large pitcher. Now blend the other half of the cooked apple broccoli mixture repeating all the steps from adding stock, ginger, nutmeg, vinegar, and honey and then finishing by pureeing mixture. Pour into the container so all the soup is together. Cover, and chill for about 4 hours or overnight or until very cold.

NOTE: When ready to serve, remove lid, and stir well. Now add ½ t kosher salt, and 2 T of the balsamic vinegar. Taste to make sure it doesn’t need more salt. Stir well. Understand that as the mixture sits the flavors change. You often need to adjust flavors so don’t skip this step. Now place a serving in bowl, stir in a bit of the parsley and a teaspoon of cream if desired. Serve! GREAT with melted cheddar cheese toasts.



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