It was hot and sunny few weeks ago that I decided to try my hands and knives for the first time to make Gazpacho ~ that famous cold soup slurped world wide! Every where I went, it's in the Summer Menu. It's so famous that food companies even produced it in tetra-paks, cans and bottles! It's one of Spain's famous export besides Paella, La Tomatina, Bull Fighting, Flamenco and... Real Madrid :-D Ok, I admit am not a football fan but I do knew few names here and there.
Gazpacho is a kind of seasonal raw soup with refreshing quality ingredients that's a sure hit and instantly remembered of European Summers besides it's suitable for vegetarians too. You won't go wrong if you serve it at dinner in those hot summer days! By the way, another similar cold soup to Gazpacho is the Vichyssoise (scroll down to the bottom page of how Vichyssoise influenced Anthony Bourdain and in entertainment). Traditionally, it's blended with hard bread (or stale bread) rather than serve separately as toasts with or without onions. Some people don't like hard bread incorporated into the soup :-) Of course, you can add hard boiled eggs, ham, croutons, almonds if you want to make other variation of non-vegetarian cold raw soups like Salmorejo and Ajo Blanco or Gazpacho Manchego which is a meat stew (mainly rabbit and chicken meat) from La Mancha, Spain.
So, here's my first try of traditional homemade Gazpacho or Gazpacho Andaluz with seasonal ingredients! I don't use mortar and pestle for the pounding of vegetables even though is sometimes favoured to give the soup textures and to avoid foaming created by food processors. I imagined with horror, a large barrel-size mortar, long pestle pounding away with loads of vegetable chunks strewing everywhere on the kitchen floor... and a chirpy 3 ½ year old, happily picking up the scraps? Oooofff... :-|
Serves 4-6 portions
To be blended in food processor:
½ Cucumber ~ skinned, deseeded & chopped roughly
5 nos Red Tomatoes ~ deseeded & diced (choose medium size sun ripened tomatoes)
1 no Yellow Onion/White Onion ~ medium size, roughly diced
½ Red Capsicum ~deseeded & diced
2 cloves Garlic
3 slices of hard breads (or stale bread) ~ wholemeal or white, no problem
1 Liter Water
2 Tbl Red Wine Vinegar/Xérès Vinegar
3 Tbl Olive Oil
2 Tbl Tomato Concentrate
Sea Salt & freshly grounded Black Pepper to taste
½ Yellow Onion/White Onion - finely diced
½ Cucumber ~ deseeded & diced
½ Green Capsicum ~ deseeded & diced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil ~ for drizzling, generously
1. In a food processor, add in the vegetables and stale bread. Blend them into a mixture. Add in the salt and pepper to taste. Then the vinegar and blend the mixture again until it's smooth and creamy.
2. While the food processor still turning, add in the olive oil and tomato concentrate.
3. Pour into a soup tureen or pot and chill it minimum 2 hours in the refrigerator. Just before serving, check the taste again and adjust if necessary.
4. Ladle the gazpacho into individual bowls or soup plates and sprinkle the reserved garnishes over the soup.
Note: I like to use Yellow Onion for this soup because I like it's stronger and complex flavour that complements the Capsicums and vinegar. You can use milder and sweeter white onions or omit it if preferred as sometimes it's not included in the Andalusian region . To chill the soup faster, I poured it into a stainless steel pot ( I would love to have it in a Soup Tureen but I don't want to break it accidently) or if you use a tall blender, you can just put the whole jug in the fridge. If you think it's too liquid, you can start with 800 ml of water and slowly add extra water to achieve the consistency you like... or lessen the liquid to make Arranque Roteño, gazpacho cream :-)