Honestly until today, I had not tried my hand at making gazpacho since living in Sevilla, and today I kept thinking why, why, why, did I not do this sooner! So many memories came flooding back of summers in Spain. The white canvas tarps over winding streets, tinto de veranos, tapas by the Río Gaudalquivir, the cool, colorful, (and clanking) tile floors of our apartment, roof top fiestas con mis compis, and of course gazpacho, cool refreshing gazpacho Andaluz. Aye que rico!
Gazpacho is the perfect seasonal dish, cool and refreshing, sweet summer tomatoes balanced with the heat of the garlic and onion. Most importantly, it requires no heat for preparation. Today was 95 degrees and humid, and we had some stale sourdough and tomatoes, and the gazpacho just called. I went with what I knew and what I had in the house, and it tasted just like I remember gazpacho in Sevilla. This is not Mc gazpacho either, it is full of flavor and tang (and yes…Mc gazpacho is real…eesh).
6-8 ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced
**I actually used a 28 oz can high quality canned tomatoes (San Marzano), with the juice, and a basket of cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market. It saved me from cooking and peeling the tomatoes, plus it is what I had in the kitchen and it turned out great, and actually a little less acidic
¾ large, green bell pepper, diced (save the other ¼ for topping)
1 cup European cucumber, diced with skin on and seeds in
1 large handful of stale bread, torn into small pieces (approx 1 cup)
¼ small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
hard boiled eggs, chopped, one per serving
bell pepper, diced
anything else you like!
**In Spain the toppings plate usually comes served with jamón Serrano and/or chorizo as well.
For soup base, dice, mince, and peel vegetables. Put all into a food processor or blender. While processing, add olive oil and vinegar. Add stale bread. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. You can adjust the thickness by adding more bread if you like it really thick, or adding some tomato juice or water to thin it out. I found that the can of tomatoes with the juice created a nice consistency and I did not need to add any water or bread. Place mixture in the refrigerator to chill while you make your toppings.
For toppings, cook eggs until hard boiled. Dice bell pepper and cucumber. For croutons, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle olive oil in a large bowl with salt, pepper, and herbs of your choice (family, herbalicious goes great here). Roughly tear bread into cubes and toss in olive oil, evenly coating. Bake at 425 degrees until golden brown.
Serve soup chilled in individual bowls, and toppings in the middle of the table so people can pick what they would like. Drizzle one last dash of olive oil over the top.
Cook together, toast to each other, and enjoy! Olé!