- 1/2 large English cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 - 3 ribs celery with leafy tops, coarsely chopped
- 1 red chile pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 28 ounce can Italian DOP San Marzano tomatoes or 12 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
- 2 cups vegetable juice, such as V8 or Spicy Hot V8, or regular tomato juice
- 1 large clove garlic, grated or pasted
- 2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup EVOO, plus more for drizzling
- 1 slice good-quality white bread, crust removed and torn into pieces
- 2 1/2 lemons--1/2 lemon juiced (about 2 tbsp.), 2 lemons halved
- A few dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 pound large shrimp--deveined, with shells and tails left on
- Old Bay Seasoning or Rachael Ray's Seafood Seasoning
- A handful flat-leaf parsley (about 3 tbsp.)
- A few basil leaves torn
Preheat a grill or grill pan over high. In a food processor, pulse the first 5 ingredients until very finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.
In the processor (no need to clean the bowl), puree the tomatoes, vegetable juice, garlic, vinegar and 1/4 cup EVOO. Transfer to another large bowl.
Still working in the processor, blend the tomato mixture, bread and half the finely chopped vegetables until a thick soup forms. (You may need to work in batches.) Combine the pureed soup with the remaining chopped vegetables. Stir in the lemon juice and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper and transfer to a chilled tureen or large pot. Chill in the freezer, stirring occasionally, while you grill the shrimp.
Drizzle the shrimp with EVOO; season with Old Bay. Grill the lemon halves, cut side down, until lightly charred, 3 minutes, and grill the shrimp until opaque in the center, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the shrimp to a plate; douse with juice from the lemon halves. Divide the soup among small bowls. Garnish with the parsley and basil leaves; drizzle with EVOO. Serve the shrimp alongside for peeling and dipping.