2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 5 medium), skin scored with an X at blossom end
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 hothouse seedless cucumber, enough peeled and cut into a 1/4-inch dice to yield 2 cups
1 small yellow pepper, stemmed, seeded, and enough cut into 1/4-inch dice to yield 3/4 cup
1 small onion, peeled, and enough cut into small dice to yield 1/2 cup
1 small jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and minced (optional, but nice)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or cilantro
Bring a large saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Drop tomatoes into the water to loosen skins, about 15 seconds. Remove skins, halve the tomatoes, crosswise, then seed the tomatoes over a small strainer set over a Pyrex measuring cup. With a rubber spatula, press on seeds to release their juices. (If the tomatoes are juicy and ripe, you should have 3/4 to a scant cup accumulated juices.) Reserve tomato juice.
Before dicing remaining vegetables, coarsely chop the tomatoes, sprinkle them with the salt, and place them in a colander set over a medium bowl to drain until they release between 3/4 and 1 cup of juice, 30 to 45 minutes, occasionally stirring the tomatoes and pressing on them lightly.
Mix diced cucumber, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, garlic, vinegar, and all of the tomato juice in a 13-by 9-inch Pyrex dish or other shallow, nonreactive pan. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 45 minutes (Can be refrigerated up to 3 hours).
While gazpacho chills, transfer half the tomatoes to the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the olive oil and pulse until reduced to a chunky purée, about four 1-second pulses. Transfer to a medium bowl. Cut remaining tomatoes into a medium dice and add to bowl; set aside at room temperature.
When ready to serve, stir tomatoes into soup and serve immediately with optional croutons.