Summertime is gazpacho time. This cold soup is popular in Spain’s Andalusia during the summer and when Alice and I were there for our honeymoon, I gained an appreciation for it. The soup has its origins in ancient Andalusian cuisine as a mixture of stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar. It is not always easy to find a flavorful yet subtle gazpacho here in the states, I was once served a bowl at James Gate that tasted like salsa pored right out of an industrial sized container. The best way, by far, to experience good gazpacho is to make it yourself from fresh vine ripened tomatoes in season. Here’s my recipe.
- 4 or 5 Medium tomatoes, vine ripened or fresh local produce as available
- 3 Garlic cloves
- 1 Roasted red pepper
- 1 Green pepper
- 1 Cucumber
- 6 Tsp. Red wine vinegar
- 6 Tsp. Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tsp. salt
- 2 or 3 Eggs
Roast the red pepper over a grille and remove the skin (or purchase ready-made in a bottle) and place in blender; Dip tomatoes in boiling water to ease the removal of skins, cut into small pieces, and place in blender; Using the same boiling water, make two or three hard boiled eggs (12 minutes), once cooked, place eggs in ice water to cool, peel and slice right before serving; Put garlic through garlic press (or chop very fine) and place in blender; Slice cucumber and green pepper and place in blender; Pour red wine vinegar, salt, and olive oil in blender; Blend to perfection, taste, and add a tiny bit of additional vinegar or salt if needed (depends on the nature of tomatoes used); Place blender pitcher in refrigerator until ready to serve; Serve in chilled bowls, garnish with three thin slices of hard boiled eggs.
While tomato is an important ingredient in many variations of gazpacho, tomato need not be used, for example, white gazpacho is made with almonds, bread, garlic, vinegar and olive oil. Gazpacho is often accompanied on the side by hard boiled egg as well as other garnishes including Serrano ham, chopped onion, or parsley.
Most entries in this blog have one thing or another to do with media or film, so where’s the connection here? In Pedro Almodovar’s film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, a pitcher of gazpacho provides quite a few laughs, so I suggest preparing a blender full of cold gazpacho, invite some friends over, and put on this movie for a perfect cold soup and a movie experience, however, I’m not suggesting the addition of a sedative to the soup as depicted in the film. In the photo the soup is accompanied with two tapas based on leftovers from a meal Alice prepared the night before, grilled zucchini and squash, and grilled shrimp on a bed of wild rice medley. As Werner Herzog said in Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, “I’m quite convinced that cooking is the only alternative to filmmaking.”