Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gazpacho

The first recipe is from Alex - the soup she made for Ed and my “Anniversary Dinner” in August 2002. Afterwords, Alex and I concluded that maybe a gazpacho without the bread might be preferable, so I’ve also included such a recipe adapted from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook

For further discussion of Gazpacho see the update at the end of this post. See also Solmorejo.




2 lbs ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber (or 2 very small cucumbers)
1 small sweet onion
½ yellow, red or green bell pepper
4 slices moist French bread
1 ½ t chopped garlic
4 T olive oil
1-2 t salt, to taste
4 T vinegar (sherry or tarragon)

1) Briefly immerse tomatoes in boiling water to loosen skin
2) Peel, cut, and place in food processor
3) Add moistened, drained bread slices
4) Add other ingredients
5) Process briefly. This should result in a thick gazpacho, not a puree.
6) Chill and serve.


Gazpacho adapted from recipe in The Whole Foods Market Cookbook Gazpacho

Serves 8 to 10

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse to chop coarsely the following ingredients (unless the processor is commercial size, the vegetables should be processed in two batches)

1 large onion, roughly chopped
1½ pounds of tomatoes, roughly chopped or 1 28-oz can tomatoes
2 large cucumbers, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
1 medium red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped (about 1-½ cups)
½ c roughly chopped fresh cilantro

Remove the chopped vegetables and place in mixing container that can be stored in the refrigerator, then add:

¼ c olive oil
1½ c tomato puree [made fresh in food processor is best]
1 c tomato juice [for thicker gazpacho add an additional cup of puree instead]
1 T lemon juice
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste [I omit --- definitely omit if using canned tomato juice with salt]

½ c balsamic vinegar [vinegar strength varies --- add 1/4 cup first then taste, add more to individual taste]

Refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, before serving.

May 2001 Update


While  developing a recipe for Celery Sorbet, which is an excellent garnish for any form of gazpacho, I revisited recipes for this soup and began to wonder what gazpacho really is.  "Gazpacho has ancient roots. There are a number of theories of its origin, including as an Arab soup of bread, olive oil, water and garlic that arrived in Spain with the Moors, or via the Romans with the addition of vinegar" Once in Spain it became a part of Andulusian cuisine... using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar."  Some how along the way tomatoes also became dominate and today we think of gazpacho as a cold tomato, bread soup of Spanish origin. In fact many modern versions (such as the Whole Foods recipe above) do not use bread and also incorporate vegetables other than those (pepper, cucumber, onion) traditionally used. An example of this is Mark Bittman's recipe for Tomato Melon Gazpacho.  I loosely adapted this recipe as follows using canned crushed tomatoes, eliminating the additional water, and using lime juice rather than lemon and fresh cilantro rather than basil.


Tomato-Melon Gazpacho

Serves 2-3; scale up accordingly

Saute, just until the melon becomes juicy, about 2 minutes:

1 1/2  t olive oil (heat first)
1 1/2# cantaloupe, cut into small chunks

Place cantaloupe in the bowl of a food processor* and add:

3/4# canned crushed tomatoes
1 t olive oil
1 T lime juice

Process until very smooth, then add:

2-3 sprigs cilantro, leaves only

And pulse until cilantro is finely chopped.

Serve garnished with Celery Sorbet and a fresh cilantro sprig.

Canned Tomato Gazpacho

While we think of gazpacho as a hot weather soup and tomatoes as a hot weather crop, the tomatoes in New England lag the hot weather.  This soup, a quick, easy version of the one Alexandra made, is made with canned tomatoes :

Put in cold water to soak for ~ 30 minutes:

2 1/2 ounces stale white bread, crust trimmed off (weight is for trimmed bread)

Put in food processor:

12 oz canned crushed tomatoes 
1-2 cloves garlic, to taste, finely minced
1/2 medium cucumber (~4 oz)
1/2 green pepper (~4 oz)
1 T olive oil (for more "authentic" add 1 T more)
1 T vinegar (I used tarragon, for more "authentic" version use sherry vinegar)
1/2 t cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Bread, wring out as much watter as possible before adding to mix

Process* until mixture is very smooth.

Serve garnished with Celery Sorbet and a fresh cilantro sprig.

Bottom Line - So Many Choices

The Tomato-Melon Gazpacho was OK; might have tasted better on a hotter day, or made with fresh tomatoes.  The Canned Tomato Gazpacho was good but I think I preferred the clarity (no peppers or cucumber) of the Salmorejo, especially when served with the Celery Sorbet. I also prefer the smooth/puree texture of the soup when paired with the sorbet.

* April 2013: Just made some Beet Soup with Cumin with an immersion blender (see Cool Tools 3). Wow! The prep time is shorter and the clean-up much easier. Going forward I will be using the immersion blender instead of the food processor for all pureed soups.

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