I can’t remember when I fell in love with gazpacho. Being born and raised in a tropical country where, paradoxically, all soups are served hot ―and because of this vichyssoise was a sort of extravaganza― I was always curious about this red uncooked tomato soup served chilly. I think I also liked the name: gazpacho, so Spanish with that ‘z’, so Andalusian…
There was a time in which I dreamed about dancing Sevillanas and became a fan of those cantaoras, fierce singers and performers, the so called Spanish folklóricas: I wanted to look like them, live the passion ―and feel the pain― like them, and instead of perfume, I used to wear Heno de Pravia (bought at El Corte Inglés) to smell ‘clean and natural’ like I imagined these women would smell…
When I started travelling by myself, I choose to go to Spain for three years in a row and even managed to skip one semester while in college in Caracas, to live in Madrid for a few months… However, I never had gazpacho in Spain because I was never there in summer time.
Gazpacho remained unknown for me until I got the book of Soups, from The Good Cook series, edited by Time Life. Then, in 1988 it came Pedro Almodóvar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and that scene where Marisa finds some gazpacho in the refrigerator and not knowing that it has sleeping pills in it, she has it and gets knocked out!
Even if there are many variations, in Andalucía most gazpacho recipes typically include tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, onion, wine vinegar, bread and olive oil. A good idea is to add some bread croutons and as you know, croutons are always a good idea.
Traditionally, gazpacho is made by muddling the vegetables in a mortar with a pestle. However, depending on the desired consistency, it can be made in a blender or food processor. If you favor any of these late methods, keep in mind that blenders can create a sort of foam. But if you let the mixture stand in the refrigerator for a while, the foam will disappear.
I made the gazpacho in the pictures in a blender. Here is the recipe.
Gazpacho | Ingredients for 6-8 portions
6 heirloom tomatoes peeled and chopped
½ cucumber peeled and chopped
1½ cups of bread with no crust, cut in cubes
3 garlic cloves pounded on a mortar with some coarse sea salt
1/3 cup of wine vinegar
1½ cups of cold water
1½ cups of cold tomato juice (I used Campbell)
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
1 medium cucumber peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded, with no veins and finely diced
4 scallions finely chopped (sometimes I use red onions)
6 cherry or grape tomatoes finely diced
Blend the tomatoes with the cucumber, bread, garlic, vinegar and cold water. Keep this mixture refrigerated until it’s time to serve the gazpacho. Before serving, add the tomato juice and check if you need to add some more vinegar. You can add some crushed ice if it’s not cold enough. Serve in individual bowls with some olive oil. Garnish with the cucumber, green pepper, onions and tomatoes.
To friendly print the recipe click here.