Gazpacho is fun to say and even more fun to make!
The past week has been a scorcher and working a in my kitchen has become a test of will enduring what is more like having a ten hour sauna while preparing food. People ask how I can stand it and my response is always the same if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
When it is as hot as it has been keeping hydrated is a challenge while keeping properly nourished poses a greater challenge as we often do not want to cook due to lack of energy or fear of increasing temperatures in our homes. Lighter fare is on most people’s menus with grilling outdoors and salads taking center stage.
My personal favourite meal on hot days is Gazpacho, a traditional Spanish chilled soup that originated in southern Spain in a an area known as Andalusia. It is traditionally a tomato based soup that is often compared to a liquid salad that was created just for summer. Gazpacho has become an inherited generic term for any chilled vegetable or fruit based soup. Modern interpretations of gazpacho, sees it prepared in a rainbow of colours and being made with mangos, avocados, cucumbers, parsley, watermelon, grapes, meat stock, seafood, and other ingredients.
The origins of gazpacho are uncertain as some claim that Arab Moors brought this soup to Spain which was originally made from bread, olive oil, water and garlic. Culinary historians believe that the Romans used this same recipe but added sour wine or vinegar to it. The word gazpacho comes from the Arabic language literally meaning “soaked bread.”
Gazpacho is very low in calories and high on nutrients and great for vegetarians but you can add a variety of other ingredients to gazpacho by garnishing it with avocado slices, chopped hard boiled eggs or a dollop of sour cream. Other variations see basil or balsamic vinegar being added, while others choose to roast the vegetables first to further the depth of this soups flavour profile. You can try different varieties of tomatoes too including heirloom varieties to change it up a bit.
The following recipe is an adaptation of the classic Spanish cold tomato soup which delicately combines the flavours of the most refreshing vegetables summer has to offer with a slightly acidic bite. Use the freshest, highest quality ingredients for this soup and serve it with some fresh potato bread.
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 purple onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 sweet red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
6 or more drops of Tabasco sauce to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (omit for vegetarian option)
4 cups tomato juice
Combine all ingredients in a blender or use an immersion blender to liquefy the ingredients using the pulse setting to blend the soup to a desired consistency. Some like it to be smooth, where I prefer it to be a bit chunky for texture. Place in non-metal, non-reactive storage container, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, allowing flavours to develop. Serve in chilled glasses.