Fiola's eggplant gazpacho is inspired by Mediterranean flavors such as baba ghanoush.
I’m awful at making gazpacho, the quintessential cold summer soup made from ripe tomatoes. Mine, which I prepare in a small blender or food processor, always turns out too watery and pink. Having force-fed myself these mediocre mixtures (I hate to waste food!), I’ve grown blase about gazpacho in general, even from restaurants.
Luckily, non-tomato (and non-mine) gazpachos have come to the rescue. Some of the best versions I’ve eaten lately are at Fiola (601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-628-2888), where chef Fabio Trabocchi is serving a rotating array of the soup all summer on his lunch and dinner menus. None, besides the regular type, even contain tomatoes. Yet, they’re still called “gazpacho” thanks to their traditional Spanish preparation: blending cold ingredients and serving chilled.
I’m a fan of Trabocchi’s sweet and light corn gazpacho and his tangy, creamy eggplant gazpacho, which Trabocchi says was inspired by Mediterranean flavors such as baba ghanoush. The thick, silky avocado gazpacho, topped with sweet corn and roasted red pepper, is another winner.
Probably my favorite is the fragrant and slightly tart peach. I’d eat this gazpacho as a dessert, but it shows up as a soup course. It’s prepared with fresh fruit and a little olive oil, salt and pepper — no added sugar, despite its sweetness. “There’s nothing wrong with starting with something like that for a meal,” the chef says. I won’t argue.