Gazpacho

Recipe by Kelly Crull

Gazpacho is a cold vegetable soup that my wife often describes as a liquid salad. Fresh summer vegetables are blended together and served cold as a refreshing way to cool off on a hot summer day.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 can or 820g (3 ½ cups) diced tomatoes (tomates troceados)
475ml (2 cups) tomato juice (zumo de tomate)
1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped (pepino)
1 green bell pepper, chopped (pimiento verde)
1 garlic clove, crushed (ajo)
80ml (1/3 cup) white wine vinegar (vinagre de vino)
60ml (¼ cup) olive oil (aceite de oliva)

Garnish (optional):

1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped (pepino)
1 green bell pepper, diced (pimiento verde)
1 tomato, diced (tomate)
1 small onion, chopped (cebolla)
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped (huevos duros)

Garlic Herb Croutons (optional):

3 tbsp olive oil (aceite de oliva)
2 garlic cloves, crushed (ajo)
½ tsp dried oregano (orégano)
1 tsp dried thyme (tomillo)
½ tsp dried rosemary (romero)
pinch of chili flakes (pimienta de cayena)

Preparation:

Mix together all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.

Serve each item on the garnish list separately, so guests can sprinkle what they want on top of their bowl of soup.

Prepare Garlic Herb Croutons (optional):

Preheat the oven to 175° C / 350° F

Remove the crusts from two pieces of bread from a loaf of your choice.

Cut each piece of bread into 16 cubes.

In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, oregano, thyme, rosemary and chili flakes.

Add the bread cubes to the herb mixture and toss until the cubes have absorbed the mixture.

Spread the cubes out on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the croutons are golden brown. Turn once during baking.

Notes:

Some things do get better with age, and gazpacho is one of them. If you have the time, gazpacho is actually at its best after one to two days of sitting in the refrigerator.

Because the flavor of gazpacho gets stronger each day, it also makes the perfect leftover. I'll have a bowl with my meal, and when I'm finished, I'll add a little more tomato juice to the leftover soup before putting it back in the refrigerator. Because the flavor matures with time, the next day I have just as much soup as before and the flavor is just as strong.

Also, it's important to note that gazpacho is always served cold. It is by definition a cold soup. Usually the best idea is to chill gazpacho for at least an hour before serving. However, some people serve gazpacho with ice cubes if they're in a hurry, but of course this waters it down.

Finally, feel free to experiment with consistency. Some people like gazpacho chunky. Others like it smooth. Restaurants often serve gazpacho as a thick soup. Some bars, on the other hand, serve it in a glass as a drink, which is much thinner. Playing around with the amount of tomato juice you use or even adding some water will help you find the consistency you like best.

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