Toast summer's arrival with gazpacho. When vine-ripe tomatoes are in, it doesn't get any better.

Gazpacho is a vibrant and refreshing cold soup from the Andalusia region of southern Spain. No cooking is necessary, although peeling the tomatoes is made easier if you dunk them in boiling water for a minute, and then plunge them in cold water. (Watch Nathalie Dupree show you how in the accompanying video on the left.) The rest is done by knife and a food processor.

It's fresh, it's tangy, it's easy: the perfect antidote to a wilting Lowcountry day.

And if you're having a party, you might offer shot glasses of gazpacho to your guests. This is one cool shooter that's good for you, too.

Gazpacho

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 cup stale French bread cubes, crusts removed

Cold water

3 cups diced peeled tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)

2/3 cup diced green bell pepper

2/3 cup diced peeled cucumber

1/3 cup diced red onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 cups tomato juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Coarsely ground black pepper

Minced green bell pepper and cucumber, for garnish

Directions

Place bread cubes in a small bowl and cover with water. Let stand 5 minutes or until bread is soft. Squeeze water from bread. Place bread, tomatoes and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor; process to a coarse puree.

Pour mixture into a large bowl; add remaining ingredients except garnish. Cover; chill 4 hours or until cold. Ladle into bowls and garnish with minced bell pepper and cucumber.

— Recipe adapted from "The Best of Relish Cookbook" (The Countryman Press, $24.95)