Gazpacho

It’s difficult to appreciate the simplistic perfection of this Andalusian classic if you’ve never traveled to the region and tried one in a good Bodega. I remember spending a day in Seville years ago and did exactly this…I ordered a gazpacho because it was hot outside and I yearned for something cold. What I received at the bar is still in my head. It was a beautiful creamy pink and orange soup served in an elegantly simple manner with a few bits of chopped up cucumber. The flavors married perfectly without any one ingredient overpowering the others…yet, each ingredient maintained its flavor. It was smooth and exploded with fresh flavors.

I’ve attempted to come up with something resembling this experience…and my recipe works well, but the context is still missing. For that, I’m afraid you will have to make some travel arrangements.

This version is my favorite method to recreate this refreshing summertime classic. I take advantage of modern equipment and use my high-speed blender to develop a smooth texture, which I think helps enormously.

Yield:  makes about 2 liters (2 quarts)

See Tips below for instruction on making this soup oil-free and/or gluten-free!

 

  • 8-10 medium-sized tomatoes (the fresher the better)

  • 2 slices of bread, cubed

  • 1/2 clove garlic, grated

  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped

  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium-sized cucumber (see tips)

  • 4 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar

  • 8 ice cubes

  • salt, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon cumin to season

  •  
  • Place all the tomatoes in the blender and process until pureed.
  • Add the bread slices to the pureed tomatoes and leave for 2 minutes.
  • Add the grated garlic to the blender, then add the tomatoes and red pepper. Turn the blender to its lowest setting and gradually increase the speed to high.
  • Add the olive oil while the blender is running.
  • Add the cucumber and continue to process for about one minute.
  • Add the sherry wine vinegar and ice cubes and process until smooth.
  • Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and ground cumin. You can enjoy it right away (which I normally do) or refrigerate for a couple of hours. The refrigeration tends to blend the flavors a bit more.

Jack’s Fresh Tip

I like to garnish the soup with some finely diced cucumbers and maybe some finely chopped basil. Other garnishes to consider would include: chopped tomatoes, chopped red or green peppers, finely chopped spring onions or scallions, fresh croutons, sliced green olives, plant-based mayonnaise or finely chopped parsley.

The success of your gazpacho will be dependent solely upon the quality of your ingredients – so shop wisely!

Peeling the cucumber or not can be a tricky issue. Most of the flavor resides in the peel, so I like to use cucumber varieties with thin skin and avoid peeling. The thicker skinned varieties are more challenging because the skin doesn’t breakdown as much in the blending. You should consider peeling these cucumbers. I never worry about the seeds – they disintegrate in a high-speed blender. Scoop them out if your blender isn’t so strong.

The garlic can quickly ruin this soup. Go easy on it – especially if it is a bit older. Start with a little and work your way up to please your taste sensitivities.

You can leave out the oil and add additional bread to compensate if you are following a no-oil diet. Similarly, be sure to select a gluten-free bread if you are not interested in eating gluten.

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