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
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.