Before the Spanish arrived in Mexico in the 1500s, they had never even seen a tomato, much less cooked with one. The Old Country gazpacho got its color from cucumbers, and once you've tried it you'll understand why the green version is still preferred over the red in some quarters. If you're using this uncooked soup as a first course instead of a main dish, it will serve six.
1 small loaf country-style white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups water, more if needed
3 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons sliced almonds
2 cloves garlic
2 cups seedless green grapes
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound shrimp, shelled and halved lengthwise
How to Make It
In a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine 3 cups of the bread cubes with the vinegar. Add the water; set aside 5 minutes to soften.
In a blender, combine the cucumbers, onion, almonds, 1 clove of the garlic, and 1 cup of the grapes. Add the soaked bread, the 1/2 cup olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Puree until smooth. Put the soup in the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes, or up to several hours.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over moderately high heat. Add the shrimp and the remaining 1 clove garlic and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are just done, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon.
Reduce the heat to moderate and add the remaining 3 cups of bread cubes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the bread is crisp and golden, about 5 minutes.
Cut the remaining grapes in half. In a small bowl, stir together the halved grapes, the shrimp, and the croutons. Serve the gazpacho (thinned with a small amount of water if it's thicker than you like) topped with the warm or room-temperature shrimp-and-grape mixture.
Wine Recommendation: When the dish is sweet, the wine should be, too. A late-harvest riesling, thick, rich, and vibrant with citrus and apricot flavors, will be incredible with this gazpacho.