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Gazpacho

2 Japanese cucumbers (12 ounces), split and seeded
1 small fennel bulb (6 ounces), trimmed
1 medium red onion (6 ounces), peeled and trimmed
1 medium red bell pepper (6 ounces), cored and seeded
1 small green bell pepper (4 ounces), cored and seeded
1 large celery stalk
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and quartered
1 small jalapeno pepper, split, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, 8 leaves reserved
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed in 1 teaspoon olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche (optional)

Chop the cucumbers, fennel, red onion, red bell pepper, green bell
pepper, and celery into 2-inch pieces. Combine with the tomatoes,
jalapeno, olive oil, basil, vinegar, garlic, 1 tablespoon kosher
salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in a large plastic or
stainless steel container. Cover the container with plastic wrap
and refrigerate for between 12 and 24 hours, tossing once or twice,
to ensure that all the vegetables are marinated thoroughly.

Using a grinder with a 1/4-inch die, grind the vegetables twice.
The soup should have a well blended but chunky consistency. Mix
the soup thoroughly in a large mixing bowl and correct the seasoning
to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. If you do not have a
grinder, use a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse
the machine until the vegetables are finely chopped but not pureed
and completely smooth.

Julienne the reserved basil leaves, ladle the gazpacho into chilled
soup bowls, and top each portion with a little julienne of fresh
basil and, optionally, 1 tablespoon of creme fraiche. Serve
immediately.

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