Fresh, chunky and topped with sizzling seared seafood, this soup packs plenty of late Summer flavors. The perfect no-cook light Summer supper, my Seared Seafood Gazpacho is a delightful way to celebrate the season’s bounty.
Yes, I realize that searing the seafood is technically “cooking”, so no-cook is a slight misnomer. But the few minutes it takes isn’t really enough to heat up the kitchen, so I think it still counts, don’t you?
I love to eat chilled soups all Summer long, but the hubby, not-so-much. So, when I made this version of the Spanish favorite gazpacho, I was thrilled that he made an exception. Two bowls full. I just might have converted him!
This is such a simple recipe, with most of the labor being devoted to vegie prep. Like I said, super simple, and a fast way to have a delicious dinner for outdoor dining ready in no time. Don’t forget though, it will need some time to chill before being served!
When it comes to a vegetable soup such as gazpacho, you can choose to follow the recipe verbatim. Or, if you have some picky eaters, add or subtract a different variety of vegetables in your gazpacho.
As long as you have the basics of tomato, some type of peppers and onion, your flavors will marry into a lovely finished chilled soup.
Here’s a list of some different vegetables that would be right at home in a bowl of gazpacho:
As you can see, you can get creative and customize your Seared Seafood Gazpacho any way that suits your tastes. Do try to stay true to the intent and origin of the cuisine and you’ll be just fine.
I like to keep my vegies a bit on the chunky side to give lots of crunchy texture to the soup. You’ll be tossing some of the soup into the blender, and that will give you plenty of “broth” too. Feel free to adjust the amount of tomato juice in the recipe to suit your tastes.
The printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post. Now let’s talk seafood!
Who doesn’t love the look of a beautifully charred piece of seafood? But, if it comes at the expense of rubbery shrimp or scallops, no thanks, right? So today I’m going to demystify the process so that you’ll learn exactly how to get top-notch results, every time.
And yes, after much testing, tasting, bad results, and even worse results, I believe that I’ve finally got a process that works. It’s not hard or complicated, but demands your complete attention and a few minutes of your time.
There are a number of steps involved, but if carefully followed, you’ll be rewarded with perfectly seared seafood!
I don’t want you to be stressed during the process, so I created a How to Sear Seafood PDF that you can keep next to the stove while you’re cooking. How convenient is that?
Let’s read through the steps first, and then I’ll give you a little more explanation afterwards to help you understand the HOWs and WHYs.
I’m going to ask you one favor before we begin. Please trust the process. I know it’s going to sound counter-intuitive. But I swear to you, this is the best way to get that lovely char on your seafood. It will be worth it, I assure you!
Okay, let’s start at the beginning…
One of the real issues when cooking seafood is that it can get dry. If you used a brine like you would for your Thanksgiving turkey, it would add moisture into the flesh. And that’s not what we want. But, if you lightly salt all sides of your seafood and let it “marinate” for 20 minutes, that will help keep the natural moisture inside. The salt also helps season the seafood too!
Just like you would before cooking a thick steak, the surfaces of the seafood need to be patted dry before cooking. Too much moisture in the pan can actually “steam” the food instead of browning it.
By brushing the seafood with oil before cooking, you add a layer of protection that helps keep the moisture inside. Another added benefit is that the oil makes sure all those fabulous browned bits stick to the seafood, not the pan.
When you’re ready to add the seafood to the pan, give both sides a sprinkling with sugar. The sugar will boost the browning ability of the seafood and brings out the natural sweetness too.
By beginning with a cold pan, you can be in complete control of the cooking process. Placing your pieces in a single layer, giving them plenty of space, allows for even cooking. A cold pan also helps the seafood to cook slowly, avoiding curling and thereby keeping the entire surface in contact with the pan.
The seafood will cook much slower than you’re used to, but you still need to keep a close watch. Once the first side has begun to spot and brown, turn off the heat and quickly flip them onto the other side. Let the residual heat in the pan finish cooking the seafood through without overcooking.
And that’s how you can achieve the lovely char and browned surfaces on seafood, without a rubbery shrimp in sight!
Don’t forget to download and print out your HOW TO SEAR SEAFOOD Cheat Sheet to help you not skip any steps or mix up the order. As you can see in the explanations above, missing or mixing up the steps will end up an unsuccessful result. (I’ll tell you how to get your copy at the end of this post)
And while your Seared Seafood Gazpacho is chilling, why not whip up a batch of these lovely Old Bay Cheddar Drop Biscuits too?
Soft and fluffy inside, these savory Old Bay Cheddar Drop Biscuits are laced with sharp cheddar cheese and the right amount of seasoning. They’re perfect when served with a chilled bowl of Seared Seafood Gazpacho.
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1. Salting the shrimp and sea scallops for 15-30 minutes helps them retain moisture as they cook, leaving the exteriors browned and beautiful.
2. In order for the seafood to brown, it must be completely dry, so pat both sides dry with paper toweling.
3. For proper browning, use a stainless or cast-iron skillet to ensure that the browned bits remain on the seafood, not the pan.
4. Lightly brush both sides of the seafood with oil. (I use olive oil)
5. Once the pan is ready, sprinkle a little sugar evenly over both sides of seafood. This will boost the amount of browning the seafood can pick up before overcooking. DO NOT ADD THE SUGAR UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO PUT THE SEAFOOD IN THE PREPARED PAN.
6. Starting with a cold pan gives you more control while cooking. Arrange the
seafood in a single layer, avoiding crowding and making sure each piece has
full contact with the pan for even browning.
7. Once the seafood begins to develop browned spots on the first side, quickly turn over. Remove pan from the stove and let the residual heat gently finish cooking the food.
8. Once the seafood is cooked through, remove from heat.
You can adjust the amount of tomato juice to make a thinner soup if desired.