Gazpacho. What is it?
Originating as a very humble dish in the countryside of southern Spain, making the most of tomatoes and left-over rustic bread, Gazpacho is today one of the best-known examples of Spanish cuisine. It is a must in many Spanish homes and restaurants over the summer season. It can be taken in a bowl or as a refreshing (healthy and nutritious) drink.
There are many variations of this recipe but this is my husband Manuel’s recipe which he makes often. Manuel remembers the long hot summer days at his grandmother’s country home outside Malaga, picking the vegetables from the back of the old farmhouse and watching his grandmother make the gazpacho in her large, white-tiled kitchen.
What you'll need
- ½ kg (approx. 1.1 lb) of ripe tomatoes
- ½ cucumber seeds removed
- ½ green pepper seeds removed
- 1 slice of white bread, soaking in water beforehand (ideally baguette-type bread, but use loaf-type bread otherwise)
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 6-8 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 tbsp of wine vinegar
- Salt & black pepper to taste
- First make a little score with a knife on the tomatoes. Then blanch the tomatoes by plunging them briefly into boiling water. Peel the tomatoes and put them in a blender.
- Cut the green pepper in 4 and add to the blender.
- Peel the cucumber, cut it in 2 cm cubes and add to the blender.
- Add the garlic and the soaking bread to the blender.
- Blend until really smooth.
- Add salt, freshly grounded black pepper and olive oil and blend again just to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Sieve the gazapcho into a bowl, cover and put it in the fridge to chill until completely cold.
- Serve cold in a glass or a bowl. You can serve it on it's own or with finely diced, red onions, peppers, cucumber and crispy croutons.
If you prepare it this way, the gazpacho will have a soup-type consistency. If you prefer it as a drink (as I do) and as it is often served in Spain at the beginning of lunch, add 250 ml (approx. ½ pint) of water between steps 4 and 5.
2. If you like your food a little spicy, you can substitute some of the tbsp of olive oil for chilli oil. Not very Spanish… but my Asian friends love it!