The Mile-High City's take on summer's coolest starter
Think you know this fair-weather soup? Not so fast. Hailing from the southern banks of Andalucia, Spain, gazpacho is a chilled, tomato-based purée that can be made a thousand different ways. Which, of course, makes it the perfect vessel to showcase a chef's creativity.
True to his Texas culinary roots, chef and owner Patrick Fox hickory-smokes tomatoes until the skins come right off. He then cools them and stirs in hefty doses of garlic, cilantro, and red onion, making this a full-flavored refresher course. Multiple locations, www.cavagreens.com
The grocery serves two versions of the soup. The "green," chock-full of fresh country bread cubes and green bell peppers, fills you up while still remaining light. Take it home by the quart, or add it to your summer picnic spread. Multiple locations, www.wholefoodsmarket.com
Leave it to Frank Bonanno of Luca D'Italia to refine a simple staple like soup. Chilled tomato water, the stand-alone ingredient in his gazpacho broth, is poured tableside over dill- and tarragon-marinated cucumbers, tomatoes, and zucchini. The flavors sing of summer, but it's the presentation that punctuates this basic dish. 711 Grant St., 303-832-6600, www.lucadenver.com
Head to Mel's Bar and Grill, where chef Chad Clevenger ladles up a cantaloupe variation, dressed to impress with red Tasmanian sweet crab, basil, yellow tomato, and Agrumato lemon oil. The balance of sweet with savory makes this gazpacho a summer must-have. 5970 S. Holly St., 303-777-8223, www.melsbarandgrill.com