Gazpacho, Spanish Summer Soup
Gazpacho is a must in this Texas heat. It’s Spanish, not Mexican, although it uses Mexican ingredients like bell pepper (chile dulce) and tomatoes.
I bought tomatoes from the Atkinson Family Farm, a 4th generation family farm. Hurray! Jeni, wife of grandson, Bob, sold them to me. Jeni, here’s the gazpacho recipe I promised.
To make a good Gazpacho I think it helps to observe boundaries that are imposed by the terroir of Andalucia. Within these boundaries Gazpacho has as many variations as there are Spaniards with opinions.
The terroir of Andalucía in Southern Spain, occupied by Arabs for 700 years, includes its climate, makeup of the soil and the naturalized products therein. The region has a climate similar to northern Africa so of course the soup must be cold to help relieve the intense heat of the region. “De rigueur” are only those ingredients that are readily available in the Andalucia terroir: olive oil, wine vinegar, cucumbers, onion, stale bread and garlic.
The principal ingredients of the soup are or of course Mexican: Tomato and Chile. These were naturalized into the terroir sometime in the early 1500’s by the Andalucians who by that time had learned to cultivate the Mexican tomatoes and Chiles (bell pepper or pimentón) that Christopher Columbus brought back with him. But keep in mind that Gazpacho is not Mexican, so out of bounds are cilantro, very hot chile and those ingredients which would normally be flagged as part of the Mexican flavor profiles. Gazpacho is a European/Arab take on Mexican ingredients. Recipes that add Jalapeño and cilantro are confused and should think about calling their soup: “cold Mexican tomato soup.”
This recipe makes a complex, soothing and highly refreshing soup. The taste is clear, with all the ingredients blending and not competing. I omit the strong onion flavor altogether. I also omit the bread because I blend it A LOT, emulsifying the oil, to achieve body and creaminess.
The olive oil is present in the taste, but it is a background.
Gazpacho Recipe Makes one quart
Recipe is adapted from the book: “Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes”
2 lbs tomatoes, diced. This is 6 cups
1/4 lb bell pepper (I used red) diced. This is 1 cup
1/4 lb cucumber, peeled and diced. This is 3/4 cup
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 fl oz red wine vinegar
4 fl oz extra virgin olive oil, Spanish if possible
1 1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt
1. Wash all the fruits. I scrub them in a strong solution of salt water, then rinse them.
2. Just place all the ingredients in a blender and churn away until the puree is creamy. So creamy in fact that it almost looks like a cream-based soup. You may have to do this in batches.
3. Chill in the fridge for a day so that the flavors blend.
4. And its ready. Very simple to make. Stir vigorously before serving and garnish with croutons and small cucumber dice.
Leave me a comment and let me know how this turns out for you.