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Gazpacho

  • 1st Aug, 2005 at 11:37 PM

Summer's always been a time to enjoy fresh local produce. I encourage you to go to your local farmer's market and pick some up. No, I mean literally. Pick it up, handle it, smell it. Make sure that it's good even if it looks a little misshapen. Ask for taste samples. Buy what you like. It's cheap at this time of year and very very fresh.

Gazpacho soup is a product of typical peasant frugality and that's why it tastes so good. If you only have simple ingredients, you have to find ways to combine it palatably. Granted, Spanish peasants didn't have access to blenders or food processors, which is why gazpacho used to be a more rustic soup than its modern incarnation. I've tried both and I prefer the puréed version.

Try to use vegetables when they are at their most ripe. Don't feel compelled to go buy all the ingredients for this soup at once. Maybe you have carrots and celery in the fridge that you have to use up; throw them in. Maybe you have an avocado which which you are unable to find a use; toss it in. (Minus the skin and pit, of course.) Be creative and keep on tasting it to make sure it's turning out all right.

This is the skeleton recipe I've refined:


Gazpacho

Ingredients

  • 10 plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, roasted
  • 3 green onions
  • ½ english cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 sweet carrots
  • ½ Spanish onion
  • 1 lime, peeled
  • 5 cloves garlic, toasted
  • 50mL fresh coriander
  • 100mL fresh basil
  • 30mL extra-virgin olive oil
  • 100mL vegetable stock
  • 5mL salt
  • 10mL black pepper
  • 10mL paprika
  • 10mL balsamic vinegar

Preparation

  1. You want to wash, blanch, roast, peel, and seed your vegetables ahead of time. Since gazpacho soup is served cold and raw, do make sure to wash things in clean water and avoid food past its prime.
  2. Core out the red and yellow bell peppers. Reserve half of each pepper, and chop the rest coarsely. Throw into a food processor or blender.
  3. Add the tomatoes and purée until the mixture is fine. Pour it into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Chop the whites off the green onions and throw those in the blender, reserve the greens.
  5. Chop the cucumber and purée. You will probably want to add some of the liquid from the bowl to help the machine. Pour out the mixture into the large bowl.
  6. Do the same for the celery, carrots, onion, lime, garlic, coriander, and basil. I highly recommend processing it in batches, unless you have one of those immersion blenders that you use with a large bucket.
  7. The mixing bowl should now contain a thick vegetable purée. You can now add the olive oil and stir it together. If it is very thick, add a little bit of stock. The soup should not be runny.
  8. Season with salt, black pepper, paprika, and vinegar. Taste it now and if there isn't enough tartness, add some lime juice. If it isn't sweet enough, then add more balsamic vinegar.
  9. Now, dice the leftover bell peppers and green onion as fine as you possibly can. Take these and stir them into the soup for a little bit of texture. You can make it more rustic, and subsequently more authentic, by blending fewer things and doing more chopping.
  10. Let it rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. When you serve it, swirl some extra-virgin oil over top, and garnish with a sprig of parsley.

Serves 6 to 8 people.

Gazpacho should be consumed within the day it's made. I've found that, left overnight, it acquires a bitterness from the onion and the coriander. You may amortise this by leaving out the coriander and soaking the onion in water before blending it in.

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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
hukuma
2nd Aug, 2005 04:04 (UTC)
mmm.. coriander
50mL fresh coriander

Now that's my kind of recipe! Oh wait, do you mean coriander leaves (i.e. cilantro)?
sfllaw
2nd Aug, 2005 06:22 (UTC)
Re: mmm.. coriander
Yes. Coriander leaves, not coriander seeds. (Fresh seeds don't really do you much good, I'm afraid.)
girlintheclouds
3rd Aug, 2005 01:24 (UTC)
Re: mmm.. coriander
i like to put corriander seeds in a pepper grinder and "freshly" grind them!

:)

this recipe is vegan! wahoo!
sneftel
10th Aug, 2005 01:20 (UTC)
Re: mmm.. coriander
Actually, you can do some really interesting stuff with immature coriander seeds, if you're quick about it. The key is to pick them when they're not yet fully rounded; they should be about half as wide as they are long. Picked like this, they have an interesting sweetness and fruitiness that you don't get with dried coriander, and without the grassy taste of the leaves. Perfect for fruity salsas... would also be good in shrimp cocktail.
love2heart
28th Dec, 2005 09:51 (UTC)
My first attempt at Gazpacho, I clogged the kitchen sink with diced onions and tomatoes. I had to make round trips from the bathroom and the kitchen, scooping water from the sink and dumping it in the toilet.
sfllaw
28th Dec, 2005 16:23 (UTC)
That's not good at all!

How did you unclog your sink?
(Anonymous)
8th Aug, 2009 21:18 (UTC)
i like it with fennel too
bulb fennel, not herb fennel.

adds a little something.
sfllaw
10th Aug, 2009 15:25 (UTC)
Re: i like it with fennel too
Yes, what a good suggestion.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )