Gazpacho is a Spanish summer standard. Served ice cold as a soup, with fresh-baked bread, or as a cool long drink, this simple mix of flavours is refreshing and plain delicious.
The base is a carefully orchestrated mix of fresh tomatoes, cucumber and bell peppers. Highlight these ingredients with garlic, smooth them with a splash of olive oil, sharpen them with a snap of vinegar – and you have culinary history in your bowl.
Fresh, Organic, Homegrown
Olive trees abound across Spain, the world’s largest producer of olive oil. From vast commercial estates to the cherished heritage of family farms, the green-hued liquid gold is a national treasure.
In the hillside pueblo, the local oil mill was just two doors away. Come the season, we would see the trailer-loads of dull green and purple olives as they trundled in from surrounding fincas, and smell the sharp fresh oil as it was pressed.
And wherever you look in Andalucia, neatly-tended rows of vegetables paint the hidden corners of the countryside in myriad colours. The abuelos hoe and water, creating their mini-canvases with the eager reds of tomatoes, sunshine snippets of squash, and a kaleidoscope of greens.
Their own oil plus morning baskets of freshness find their way to abuela’s kitchen, and this traditional tomato-based soup has long been the way to enjoy the harvest.
There are as many versions of gazpacho as there are pueblos. Multiply that in turn to discover the number of staunch supporters of each recipe, and I reckon that it follows a close second to paella in the ‘ours is the authentic version’ stakes.
So far on the site I have
- this basic awfm* gazpacho recipe
- a recipe for salmorejo – gazpacho made with bread in the mix
- and our own original Preacher’s Special.
*awfm = always works for me
A finely flavored gazpacho with a smooth and silky texture. Super-quick to prepare, easily stored and equally easily presented.
- 1kg fresh tomatoes, washed, with stem end and centre core removed.
- 1 english cucumber
- 1 medium green bell pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic
- pinch of cumin
- salt to taste
- 450ml olive oil
- 45ml wine vinegar
- Rough chop the tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper and garlic.
- Blend these into a thick smooth liquid.
- Because of the volume of the tomatoes, the blending will probably be done in batches.
- To the last batch, slowly add the olive oil until the liquid has homogenized, then add the vinegar.
- Mix this batch with the rest of the gazpacho.
- - I like to complete the refining with a hand-held pasa-puree.
- - For this step you could also pass the mix through a sieve, using a soup ladle or large spoon to press the gazpacho through.
- Add the pinch of cumin, and finally salt to taste.
- - The flavour of a gazpacho is fine-tuned, so be an orchestra conductor with your salt: add just the touch needed, and no more.