13.6.07

Gazpacho 101.2 - The basic recipe


Well. I´m a bit scared now, because it may seem that I´ve taken on the mantle of a gazpacho maven, which I´m not. Then again, thirty one years of drinking gazpacho by the gallon every summer must count for something.

The thing is, in Spain debates over what constitutes the ur gazpacho can get more than a little heated, but the contested points are details. Everybody agrees on the essentials, which, as I said before, are a cold soup, smooth, made mostly of tomatoes.

I´m once again hampered by not being a photo blog, but to put it simply, here is a simple yes and no of gazpachos. No offence, I´m sure the no was yummy, just not the ur gazpacho, is all I´m saying.

The thing with gazpacho recipes, aside from idiosincracies, and there are many, is that it´s hard to give accurate measurements. Tomatoes play a huge part, and it´s hard to gauge how juicy they may be. You´re going to have to trust your instincts just a little.

Here´s a basic recipe, taken from Rosa Tovar´s Las claves de la cocina.

1 kg of ripe gazpacho tomatoes (plum)
1/2 a green pepper
1/2 a peeled cucumber
a wedge of onion
1 or two garlic cloves
a handful of stale bread
Sherry vinegar, 4 or 5 spoonfuls
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup water
salt

Soak the bread in water.
Meanwhile, roughly chop the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and pepper, and blend them with the cup of water.
Squeeze the bread, and in a smaller bowl, blend with the garlic, vinegar, oil and salt.
Then add this mixture to the vegetable one, blending all the time. ( stick blenders are a favourite tool over here)

Strain.Leave to chill, and voilá.

Now, mostly everyone would agree on this gazpacho, but mostly everyone would have some twist of their own. I´ll give you mine:

1-I use red pepper instead of green. This is because when I mix red paint with green paint, I get brown, so I prefer to mix red and red and have a prettier red. I´m fully aware that this is not a valid culinary reason, more of an occupational quirk, but there you go.

2-I don´t put onion in, and cut down the garlic to as little as half a clove.

3-I put more water in, two cups. And if I´m in a hurry and don´t have time to chill the soup, I crush ice, as for daiquiris, so that it cools inmediately, without being later watered down with ice cubes.

4-I usually throw in a spoonful of sugar. If I do it with tomato sauce and tomato soup, why not with gazpacho?

5-I don´t use bread, and I use less oil. This results in something less emulsified, less orange, more pink, more fresh and light, and yes, more like vegetable juice.

6-Most importantly, I blend everything at once. It´s much more convenient that way. And then I strain it. I don´t agree with people who insist that a very powerful blender, like a Thermomix, makes this step unnecessary. It´s only three minutes, and it makes it a million times better, trust me.

So you see, this can be played pretty fast and loose with. But only up to a point.

Next post, serving suggestions, garnishes, and common variations.

20 comentarios:

veron dijo...

Never made gazpacho before...but you just got another curious student ..

Rachel dijo...

I might have to try this!

Pille dijo...

Ok. I bought a tomato plant from the market stall today, and planted it in my garden. Now I shall just wait for the tomatoes to 1) appear, 2) grow and 3) ripen. Should be ready in August. And then, ideally, I should have some practical one-to-one tuition from a long-time gazpacho eater (or drinker:)

kickpleat dijo...

i'm not sure if i'd like gazpacho having just gotten over my aversion to tomatoes and cucumbers (i know, crazy), but your gazpacho posts in a a row are tempting me to the dark side!

sandi @ the whistlestop cafe dijo...

Yum!
I love gazpacho in the summer when the tomatoes and cucumbers are fresh. I prefer mine a little chunkier~ in fact I have some in the fridge right now.
What are the toppers??? I'll be back!

Lydia dijo...

I love making huge batches of gazpacho and having some in the fridge, getting icy cold, for a quick supper during the summer. I'm really enjoying your series of gazpacho posts.

xps dijo...

Estás saliendo muy airosa.

Marona dijo...

Me gusta tu receta. Yo también le pongo menos ajo y lo paso por el chino. Ánimos, a por la tercera!

Jerry dijo...

Seems like gazpacho will be on my menu this week.

Homesick Texan dijo...

How brilliant that you use red peppers, completely makes sense! We still don't have tomoatoes, but I can't wait to try this. And I had no idea there was bread in gazpacho.

iamchanelle dijo...

you really did mean it is supposed to be smooth!
i will give this one a go for sure, it sounds so refreshing and EASY.
one question: do you strain it through cheesecloth?

lobstersquad dijo...

veron: you´re in for a treat
Rachel: yes please
Pille: great, something to look forward to! I don´t get to make gazpacho with tomatoes of such good family
Kickpleat: well, I´m pretty new at cucumber loving, so I think you can brave it.
Sandi- chunky has options too, wait for the next post
lydia: knowing the gazpacho is there is the best thing, I agree.
Xps: quién lo diría, eh?
marona: el chino es lo más, bien!
jerry: that sounds great,
Homesick texan: thanks, I´m glad someone agrees with my crazy painterly reasons
chanelle: sorry, didn´t specify. I use a chinoise, but any metal fine mesh strainer should do, it doesn´t have to be as smooth as all that. Whatever you use for cream soups, basically.

lobstersquad dijo...
Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.
tammy dijo...

I could live entirely on gazpacho during the summer. My recipe is from a friend in Sevilla and my only change was to use red peppers instead of green, like you, because I think the flavor and color ends up better.

What always confused me, though, was gazpacho v. salmorejo. Which one's the one with the bread?

nopisto dijo...

Good and orthodox recipe.

Here's my tips:

- Soak the garlic three times from cold to boiling water so it won't have that strong flavour.

- If you use red peppers you don't need to add bread as they are thicker than the gree ones.

- Take out the seeds from the cucumber to avoid repeating (Can you help me with this?)

- Mix all the ingredients at once but the olive oil. Once you got the soup and the olive oil slowly while moving the blender so it will emulsify leaving a softer texture.

- The tomatoes need to be very well rippened, otherwise add a spoonfull of ketchup.

Hope that this will help.

lobstersquad dijo...

tammy: salmorejo is a superthick version with much more bread and no cucumber. There´s a recipe on this blog, called "porra antequerana", which is a regional variation of salmorejo.
Nopisto: ketchup! I almost put some in the other day, then held back, but now I feel free as a bird.
Thanks for the tips, I´ll do a tip post too.

boxdaughter dijo...

Madame Lobstersquad,
I + boyfriend "who fears raw tomato pieces" made your recipe. It's a winner. Although I was leery of the smoothness, having always eaten it in the "chunky" version prior to this, it was delicious. He gobbled up two servings. (A first in our household.) We'll work up to garnishes next week. Thanks!

Ryk Edelstein dijo...

Spot on. All the right flavors, and good consistency. This recipe is a keeper.

Best when made with Good flavorful Olive Oil and super ripe good quality tomatoes, and not the usual TSO's (Tomato Shaped Objects athat look like tomatoes, but have no soul) usually found in most supermarkets.

Even my Gazpacho hating daughter evoured this.

Tiffany dijo...

I am a new reader to your blog, and look forward to reading more! I've been wanting to make gazpacho for awhile; your's sounds delicious.

halogen cookers dijo...

I am new reader too, very like the recipes :)

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