The playground bully hates his victim’s guts. The fisherman guts his prey. The soldier guts it out. Strong stuff. It takes guts to deploy the word guts.
Now guts is going glam. Against all odds, it’s in.
Whole books are devoted to cultivating a happy, healthy gut, one flush with microbes eager to churn mere food into energy, health and vitality. Not just books, but cookbooks.
I tried. I spent a week blending brews that promised a gut teeming with bacteria. Instead I got taste buds steaming with resentment. Who actually craves kefir, kombucha or filmjolk?
So I switched to blending foods I actually like — tomatoes, peppers and garlic — into a shot of cool gazpacho. I have no idea if the invisible army approves. But I do.
2 slices white sandwich bread, frozen
2 slices white sandwich bread, not frozen
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 pounds whole red grape tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
1 roasted red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Buttered crab, see recipe
Zest stripped from 1 lemon using a 5-hole grater
Toast: Trim away crusts from frozen bread. Cut each frozen slice into 64 tiny cubes. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic, peeled and bruised, but whole. When oil is hot, add bread cubes; toast, shaking pan, until golden, 1-2 minutes. Scoop the tiny croutons onto a paper towel; set aside. Toss golden garlic into the blender.
Soak: Tear remaining bread into a bowl. Cover with cold water. Let soak, 5 minutes. Squeeze bread; toss it in the blender.
Blend: Pile in tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, roasted red pepper, red onion, vinegar, salt, cumin and ground red pepper. Blend thoroughly. Blend again, slowly pouring in remaining 1/4 cup oil.
Strain: Press soup through a fine-mesh sieve; discard solids. Cover soup; chill at least 2 hours.
Serve: Whisk a little cold water into the soup, aiming for milkshake-thick. Add more salt or vinegar, if you like. Pour soup into shot glasses. Top each with a few croutons, a spoonful of crab and a few strands of lemon zest. Down in a single gulp.
Buttered crab: In a small skillet, melt a lump of butter. Add 1/4 pound crabmeat; cook, tossing, just until heated through. Scrape into a bowl; snip in 2 teaspoons fresh chives. Makes 16 shots.