Gazpacho

Posted on 25 June 2010

Gazpacho is the quintessential summer soup. Obviously begin chilled helps you cope with the sweltering heat but the flavors in this soup are ones that make you sweat a little, getting you even cooler. The soup traditionally comes from Andalusia in Spain where it has been made since mediaeval times. Peculiarly the addition of tomato is a relative new one; with them only being added to the soup in the 1700’s. Most of the ingredients in this particular soup are in the traditional recipes, the only addition I made that I had not seen elsewhere in mediterranean cookbooks is half a jalapeno (if you haven’t noticed by now I really do love spice!). Every historical recipe I have found for gazpacho has been different, showing that there really is no right or wrong way of making it. This also means that you can play around with the ingredients and add whatever you have on hand or substitute ingredients for others (one way of switching it up would be to change the vinegar to white wine vinegar or even sherry vinegar).

My craving for gazpacho started a little while ago. A few weekends ago some good friends from college and I were in Connecticut celebrating our friend’s birthday. The weekend had taken a very sporty turn with plenty of tennis, swimming and baseball (even if it was beer baseball… but more on that another time!) and we were all in need of a refreshing something to try to cool us down. As we were naming the things we were craving I suddenly became aware of how much I needed gazpacho. The chilled, refreshing soup would be the perfect thing that weekend but alas! We could not find any fully ripen tomatoes at that point. Thankfully, just in time for a lovely, humid New York summer there is a glut of tomatoes already. Some recipes call for adding tomato juice, this is due to the fact that tomato juice is a more consistent product than the juice from most tomatoes, at this time of year we thankfully do not have to worry about that. The juice should be sweet and flavorful enough already.

This recipe is really as easy as putting everything in a blender and whizzing it until you have the consistency you want. I prefer mine smooth but you can leave it chunkier for a more rustic appearance or you can put the soup through a strainer to get a very refined soup. I personally think that if the soup is too smooth it lacks texture and become too thin tasting.

Notes: I suggest adding creme fraiche to the soup right before serving. Please do not tell any of your Andalasian friends as they may cry…

Gazpacho, serves 4
1 slice white bread, crusts removed, cut into small squares
2 lbs large vine ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 red pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 orange pepper, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for swirling
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1. Soak bread with 1 tbsp water. Leave to absorb water for 5 minutes. Carefully squeeze out excess.

2. Place tomatoes, bread, cucumber, peppers, onion and garlic in a blender. Blend until desired level of smoothness.

3. Pour into a non metallic bowl (ceramic, glass or plastic) and add oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly, cover with wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

4. Serve with your choice of croutons, a drizzle of some more extra virgin olive oil, avocado, chopped cucumber, diced pepper or creme fraiche.


8 responses to Gazpacho

  • Ted Nowell says:

    One of my favorite summer dishes also! I will buy you Smithfields if you will make it for me! Wonder what a touch of horseradish would do for it? Can’t wait to try your recipe.

    • Vienna says:

      Smithfield’s for soup sounds like a fair deal! And I love horseradish. This soup is already pretty spicy but maybe leaving out the jalapeno and some of the red onion and adding some horseradish would be amazing! This recipe is so easy. Literally just throw everything in a blender and then chill it for an hour or so. Thank you so much for reading Tiny Test Kitchen!

  • amy nowell says:

    I usually make gazpacho at the beach when the tomatoes are ripe. Our crowd loves a small dollop of fresh crab meat on the top too.

    • Vienna says:

      Some sweet, fresh crabmeat sounds like a great addition to this soup. I think that the tomatoes do have to be ripe otherwise the soup lacks a whole level of flavor. We use tomatoes almost daily at home, for salads, soups, risottos, jam, raw and roasted! Thank you so much for reading Tiny Test Kitchen!

  • Katie Cralle says:

    I made this today, really delicious and easy! (I mean, if I could do it!) I decided to add some extra diced tomato and pepper at the end after I blended, which was yum.

    • Vienna says:

      So glad you made it! Also give yourself some credit you are excellent in the kitchen. :) This super is so yummy and just so perfect. I may have to make myself another batch today for some quick eats! Thank you for reading Tiny Test Kitchen.

  • thanks for your comments. I recently made an heirloom gazpacho and it was wonderful.. I found the recipe on epicurious.com and changed it up some.
    The tomatoes were incredibly sweet and I used sherry vinegar instead of the wine vinegar. It was beautifully balanced. Not too spicy,bitter or sharp.
    The tomatoes made all the difference.

    My late mom used to a grate a boiled egg into the soup.

    • Vienna says:

      Hi Stephen, thank you so much for checking out Tiny Test Kitchen. i haven’t tried gazpacho with egg in it. It sounds interesting and as though it would give the soup more texture. Glad to hear that you made a great gazpacho in the end! Thank you for reading Tiny Test Kitchen, I hope you come back soon!

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