Gazpacho is the perfect summer soup. It comes from Spain, where there are many variations in the preparation of the dish. There's even a “white” gazpacho made with almonds and white grapes, but I'll stick to the traditional version. This recipe is from a Spanish friend who lives in beautiful Seville, where this delicious chilled soup is thickened with bread. I eat a lot of gazpacho when my own crop of juicy, scrumptious tomatoes starts to ripen. It's important to use high quality tomatoes. The secret of a great gazpacho is making it a day ahead of time so all the flavors have a chance to marry. The soup tastes quite bland when first assembled, but after it rests for a day, you can adjust the flavor by adding more salt, pepper, mashed canned tomatoes or juice. Serve it icy-cold in chilled bowls and garnish with freshly made croutons. If you'd like to sample this version of the dish, I'll be doing a cooking demo/tasting at Bookworks on Rio Grande, Saturday, June 11, at 2 p.m. So come on down and try a sip.
Gazpacho from Seville
3 garlic cloves, sliced
6 scallions, finely chopped
3 bread slices
1 large can plum tomatoes
1 quart vegetable juice (optional) or water
1/2 cup Spanish sherry vinegar
olive oil (several teaspoons)
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
7 celery stalks, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
salt and fresh pepper to taste
2 cups croutons
1) Place garlic in a bowl and bruise with a wooded spoon; mash bread into the garlic and add vinegar a little at a time, until all of it is added. Mix in enough olive oil to make a smooth paste.
2) Blend in 1 cup of canned tomatoes, mashing them well into mixture.
3) Add the remaining vegetables.
4) Add 1 quart of vegetable juice (or cold water) and salt and pepper to taste, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
4) Adjust seasoning by adding more liquid, salt, pepper and mashed tomatoes to taste.
5) Garnish with croutons and serve.