1/2 large English (seedless) 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 chili pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 can Italian DOP San Marzano tomatoes (28 ounces) 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 extra virgin olive oil (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 tablespoons), 2 lemons halved
A few dashes of 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 of flat leaf parsley (about 3 tablespoons)
A few basil leaves, torn
Pre-heat 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 of 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, 3-4 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.