Gazpacho andaluz

By Summer

The dog days of summer are upon us. I admit, my first instinct was to write about the imminent end of summer. But then I realized that many lingering balcony dinners lie ahead. (Big sigh of relief.)

For me, gazpacho is the quintessential summer food. Sure, summertime is also all about salads, grilled meats and ice cream, but we eat those same foods throughout the year, just to a lesser extent. Who would ever eat gazpacho in the winter? No one. Not in colder climates, anyway, where the tomatoes taste like cardboard and the vegetables all bear stickers of faraway places.

blog gazpacho 1

Gazpacho is an ancient dish. I like the theory that it travelled to Spain with the Moors. The modern-day home of gazpacho is arguably in Andalusia, although it is consumed all over Spain, and even in Portugal, where the cold soup is called gaspacho or caspacho.

My memories of gazpacho go back to my childhood. My mom would often make it for us as soon as the local tomato crop permitted. Her version always required a great deal of chopping, especially for our large family. I grew up assuming that traditional Spanish gazpacho was a cold tomato juice–based soup with a variety of diced vegetables, perhaps some herbs and citrus juice for zing. Apparently that version more closely resembles the Portuguese recipe.

Two summers ago, I was in Fribourg, Switzerland, visiting my Spanish friend Patricia. It was then that I discovered the delightful simplicity of gazpacho andaluz. Patricia kindly passed on her recipe, which I have adapted below.

The key to this recipe is in the ingredients. Use the best quality you can find, and make sure the tomatoes are ripe. Patricia’s initial instructions were to peel all the vegetables, but I soon realized that I could skip this step, except for the cucumber, which I still peel. Peel the tomatoes if you have the patience. I don’t. The colour of the bell peppers is up to you. I like red best for colour and digestibility, but apparently green is typical. Careful with the garlic and onion – a little goes a long way. Some purists might say that bread is an ingredient in salmorejo, not gazpacho, but I like the body it lends to this cold soup. Traditionally, stale bread was used.

This recipe makes quite a large batch. When you live alone, the challenge is to try not to drink up the whole thing in one go.

blog gazpacho 2

Gazpacho andaluz
6 ripe tomatoes
One-half English cucumber, peeled
Smallish chunk of sweet onion (or handful of chives)
2 bell peppers
½ clove garlic
Salt
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
¼ c. best-quality olive oil
2 slices white bread
water (1 ½ to 2 cups)

Unless you have a giant commercial blender, the best way to make this recipe is in two (or even three) batches. Wash and coarsely chop all the vegetables and place them in a big bowl. Add about half to the blender, with half the liquid. Process until smooth. Pour into a large bowl or jug. Process the remaining ingredients and add to the first batch. Mix and adjust seasonings to taste.

Chill. Enjoy.

Summer lives in Switzerland. In her spare time, she is either on her bicycle or in her kitchen.
Welcome to our family’s discussion forum on food. If you’d like to submit a post, please consider yourself family, and email us at familyfoodforum@gmail.com.

After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”

– Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

 

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6 thoughts on “Gazpacho andaluz

  1. It’s funny to hear your story about “discovering gazpacho” so-to-speak. Mom’s recipe sounds similar to Aunt Susan’s, the principal is certainly the same. It wasn’t until I was in Ronda, Spain a few summers ago that I stumbled across a version of Gazpacho similar to yours. It was a very hot afternoon and I had consumed a fair-to-moderate amount of Spanish wine the night prior (necessary ancedote). Consequently, Gazpacho sounded perfect! When it came to the table I was more than a bit confused/dissappointed at it’s appearance but I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was. I had entirely forgotten about this until now, I’m definitely inspired to try your recipe!

  2. I never liked the idea of cold soups until recently. I also remember a lot of chopping being involved when my mom made gazpacho so this looks refreshingly simple! Now I’m craving tomatoes!

  3. Jesse, you’re absolutely right that Gazpacho is the perfect remedy for er…overindulgence. I also love it after a long ride in the Canaries. They sell it there in cartons at the grocery store, and it’s surprisingly good. Must be all the lycopene, Vitamins A and C and beta-carotene in the tomatoes.

    Olivia, I want to try the roasted tomato gazpacho I saw on the blog you recommended (Love and Lemons). What a great blog!

    On another note, I don’t mind the fibre, but if you want a smoother soup, definitely peel the tomatoes. You can even pre-process them and strain out the seeds.

  4. Let me chime in to agree that the chopping involved in many gazpacho recipes is beyond tedious.

    I think the recipe Susan, Shelly and I all used was probably a version of Granny’s. She actually helped a neighbour lose quite a bit of weight with gazpacho, many years ago. He was taking sandwiches, fruit and a couple of cookies for his lunch each day. He wanted to lose weight, but didn’t want to interfere with the family’s dinners. Granny convinced him to make a big batch of the chopped gazpacho every Sunday evening (her recipe included chickpeas), and eat that for lunch each day with a piece of fresh fruit. By the end of that summer, Warren lost over 20 lbs, without making any other alteration to his diet, and he loved that his lunch satisfied him until dinner.

    So it’s not just a satisfying soup, but is also a hangover cure and diet food! Miracle soup.

  5. Sharon, my feed the children recipe for Gazpacho, was for sure based on our Mom’s version, with a little fine tuning. So much chopping! It was pretty but I prefer salad. I like to chew.
    Green Gazpacho was a hit at 42.

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