With four months in Spain under my belt I would hardly consider myself an expert in Spanish Cuisine, but I have discovered a few favorites thus far, one of these being gazpacho. In its simplest essence, gazpacho is a cold raw vegetable soup but with our 30+ degree days not seeing an end in sight, I’ve really found it to be much more than that. It’s a wonderful and lovely light supper, a refreshing treat in the late afternoon when paired with an ice-cold Estrella, and a great way to load up on heart healthy olive oil, garlic and veggies. I’ve pulled together a couple of different recipes and tweaked them to make it my own. This is not a bonafide, 100% authentic recipe, but a simple and easy way to bring the taste and health benefits of this summer delight to your table.
Per Wikipedia, gazpacho has ancient roots. There are a number of theories of its origin, including as a soup of bread, olive oil, water, vinegar and garlic that arrived in Spain and Portugal with the Romans. Once it was in Spain, it became a part of Andalusian cuisine, particularly in Cordoba and Sevilla. You can serve it as a starter, main dish or tapa. A basic recipe is below, that can of course be tweaked. For an aspiring Spanish speakers out there I’ve given you the ingredient list in Spanish as well so you can practice at the market. 🙂
The following is a typical modern method of preparing gazpacho:
- The vegetables are washed and the tomatoes, garlic and onions are peeled.
- All the vegetables and herbs are chopped and put into a large container (alternatively, the tomatoes may be puréed in a blender or food processor or pounded in a mortar (the traditional method).
- The soaked bread is then added (optional)
- Some of the contents of the container are then blended until liquid, depending on the desired consistency.
- Chilled water, olive oil, vinegar and salt are then added to taste.
- The remaining contents of the container are added to the liquid, then briefly blended, but not to purée, leaving some texture. (optional)
- Garnishes may be made with fresh bell pepper slices, diced tomatoes and cucumber, or other fresh ingredients.
*You will often see recipes that add tomato juice, vegetable broth or water to the mix. I would not do this and do not believe it to be authentic. If you need more liquid, add more olive oil. Good quality olive oil.
*Some recipes call for peeling the tomatoes, while others do not. I personally do not peel mine, but am also aware that I would have a nicer consistency to my gazpacho if I took the time to do so. A higher quality blender than I am currently using could also remedy this.
This link from The Guardian has some excellent tips and ideas for the perfect gazpacho, discussion of the above, and also references Gordon Ramsay’s recipe which I also like as well.