simple pleasures…


Gazpacho – A cold summer soup

Here is a classic recipe for that wonderful Spanish invention for a liquid salad – Gazpacho. It all starts with luscious ripe tomatoes though there are a few variations that call for none. Those are usually based on cucumbers. Enjoy this summer favourite!

The classic formula:
The following will serve four to six. To increase, a good rule to remember is 1 tomato more per person and a little more of everything else, proportionately. Roughly, it is to the amount of tomatoes, one third of that is the cucumber and half again of the cucumber is the onion used as well as one long green pepper per two tomatoes. The bread serves to thicken.

4 large and ripe tomatoes, peeled (about 1 kilo)
2 long green peppers (or 1 bell pepper)
2 small cucumbers (hand length)
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
+ – 100 gr. of bread crumbs made without the crust or
*4-6 slices of baguette bread cut about one finger thick
or 2 slices of sandwich style bread

4 -5 T. olive oil
+ – 2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cumin
4 -5 T. vinegar (or lemon juice or blend of both)
1/4 l. or more of cold water
*If using fresh bread remove crusts and soak in water.



Remove peel from tomatoes. Cut coarsely and place in blender along with the rest of the likewise coarsely chopped vegetables. Squeeze the water from the bread and add as well (if using crumbs, add unsoaked). Process until almost a fine mass. Add the cumin, salt and vinegar and enough water to make it thin enough to pour, however, it is neither a watery soup nor a thick puree but something in between! Add the oil and blend for a second or two. It is important that the gazpacho is not so highly blended that it becomes a pink, foamy mass. You should still see small bits of vegetable. Allow to chill one hour before serving, and that is the secret to a good gazpacho. The flavours must marry a little first.

The villa variation
Following a tip from a neighbour of mine, Paco, I add a few tablespoons of wine – either a dry white or rosé – not red according to Paco who believes a red has too much dominating character. I do not always remove the skin of the tomato, but this depends on the tomato. We have a huge variety here and a few seem to have tougher skins than others and those are the ones that I plunge first into boiling water before removing the skins. I always use the long green pepper, which is milder than the large bell peppers and I prefer a vinegar from Jeréz (sherry vinegar) or red wine vinegar and then there are times I will pick a lemon from one of my trees and use that. If I mix the lemon with the vinegar then only if I am out of the sherry vinegar and am using wine vinegar. I prefer the small cucumbers to the very long sort as I find the flavour better. I increase the cumin to one teaspoon and I may add a little clove of garlic more! Aproveche! (Bon appetit!)

the epicurean table




~ by eaesthete on 08/04/07.

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