Gazpacho

Last days of summer and the scent of sweet tomatoes.

I remember the first time I tried making gazpacho some years back. I had tasted it a couple of times before my first attempt, then read about what kind of vegetables you're supposed to use, so I thought that if it's a cold pureed soup I can simply throw all of the ingredients in a blender and 'BAM!' - the final result will be marvellous. Ended up with a slurpy meal full of chunks that was far from smooth... or tasty. Disappointment at its peak which proved yet again that sometimes things which seem so simple are the hardest to achieve. Practice makes perfect: no turning back the next time I fail.

 

Thank you, Spain, for this refreshing recipe.

 

There are numerous gazpacho variations. Some people include stale bread in their recipe (it makes the soup extra creamy and obviously - delicious... CARBS !!), jalapeño peppers, some even add melon balls, etc. Over time, you'll also discover what suits you best, but I believe this version is a good starting point. It's not too garlicky, not too acidic and creamy enough to my liking.

I don't like peppers in my gazpacho and I prefer a cold summertime soup to be light so I don't use any bread. You can serve gazpacho with some toasted Spanish or Italian style bread instead or simply have the soup on its own (keep it healthy!). The most important ingredient here are the tomatoes so be sure to use a trusted farm grown or organic tomatoes (grandma's garden? perfect!). Use different types to add even more flavour. Although gazpacho is all about those perfectly ripe tomatoes, this doesn't mean you should give up on cucumbers, onions, garlic or olive oil - always choose the best you can.


Serves 4   |   Hands on time: 25 mins |   Total time: 45 mins + at least 30 mins of chilling in the fridge   |   1 cup - 250ml   |   1 tablespoon - 15ml   |   1 teaspoon - 5 ml


Ingredients:

  • 750 g of tomatoes (about 470 g peeled; seeds removed)
  • 300 g of cucumber (about 250 g peeled)
  • ½ of a red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil + more to garnish
  • ½ teaspoon of xeres vinegar (kaip rasosi?) (or substitute apple cider vinegar)
  • ¾-1 cup of water
 
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Place tomatoes in a large heatproof bowl and fill it with boiling water so that all tomatoes are covered. Let stand for 2-3 minutes or until tomato peel releases from the pulp (you should feel that the peel is slightly loose when you touch it). Remove tomatoes from the hot bowl, wash under cold water and peel them. Remove seeds (do not discard*), hearts and place everything else in a blender. Add the cucumber, onion, garlic and salt; let stand for 20 minutes (vegetables will develop a brighter flavour due to osmosis – reaction with salt). Add the remaining ingredients (except water) and blend until smooth. Add water, starting with ¾ cup until you reach a desired consistency. Chill well in the fridge and serve with a drizzle of olive oil + toasted bread**.

*To reserve the delicious juice that’s left around the seeds, simply drain them through a mesh sieve into the blender before blending your gazpacho.

** You can strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve for a smoother consistency, but I doubt that is necessary.