Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gazpacho

The first time I had summer gazpacho I was at a graduate student pot-luck and a Basque colleague of mine brought some. Being very Basque and not at all Andalusian, "Ivan" just put in all the veggies from his fridge, including carrots and broccoli into his blender, chilled the result and called it gazpacho. I learned something that day about the strength of Spain's regional identities. Even I knew more about Andalusian Gazpacho than "Ivan", at least enough not to puree raw broccoli into soup! Needless to say, it took me years to ever try it again. I'd trust "Ivan" with Basque Bacalao a la Vizcaina any day, but not this southern Spanish delight. The real deal is a drinkable version of mixed salad with vinaigrette dressing. For a really funny gazpacho ingredient list that includes sleeping pills, see "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" by Pedro Almodovar.
My ingredient list looks like this:

1 medium cucumber, peeled
1 medium red onion, peeled
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
3 medium tomatoes, cored
2 roasted red bell peppers, seeded**
2 slices of sturdy, day old bread
1/4 cup Spanish sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Easy recipe reminder: You do not have to take the trouble to peel the tomatoes or peppers nor do you have too seed the cucumber as the soup will be strained before serving.

**Seeded raw red peppers work well too and they are more traditional, but if you have the roasted ones on hand, do add them as they give the soup a richer taste and color.

Soak the bread in ice water to cover, squeeze out. Place the vegetables and bread in the bowl of a large food processor. Process at high for 1 minute until you have achieved a smooth tomato sauce-like texture. Music to puree gazpacho by: Bebe, "Malo" see the video here. Add the salt, pepper, vinegar and ice water from the bread and process to incorporate. While the processor is running, open the feeder top and drizzle in the oil. Put the soup through a medium mesh strainer, check again for salt and possibly add more water if you feel the soup is too thick. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serving suggestions: This soup goes well in bowls alone or with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, You can even serve it in cocktail classes spiked with vodka or tequila, but please, no sleeping pills.

8 Comments:

Anonymous rowena said...

Gazpacho sounds like such a great idea right now...this will surely be on next week's menu! I also love that photo of the vegetable terrine, another winner! We've been buying up so much fresh produce, when my husband eyes the shopping list, he exclaims "Looks like we're feeding a bunch of rabbits in this house!" To compensate I wrote down thinly-sliced pancetta....just for him. ;-)

10:12 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Rowena, Ha ha! My husband's a big carnivore too. Actually I ate the one strip of pancetta in the post and he ate all the rest in one sitting!

3:58 PM  
Blogger Estelle said...

How funny! I had a gaspacho like week too! http://myfrenchcuisine.blogspot.com/2006/06/celebrating-summer.html

2:26 AM  
Blogger Estelle said...

I meant last week, not "like week"...

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Tanna said...

At least once a week for the next two months!!! Yeah.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:41 AM  
Blogger Judith said...

Hi, I found this link from your recent white gazpacho post and I have just a couple questions about this recipe. First, how long does the bread need to be soaked for, and does it matter what type of bread you use? And second, how much soup does this recipe yield? I only have a 3-cup Cuisinart so I was thinking of making half or just making the whole thing in batches. Thanks!

12:25 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Judith, Of the bread is only a day old, then is only needs to be soaked for less than a minute. If it is a harder type of bread or an older bread, you should soak it longer. I suppose the best indication that it is soaked enough is that you should be able to squeeze the water out of it and encounter no hard resistance and it should stick together in your fist.

I have a (more or less) 6 cup italian cuisinart-y thing so yeah, doing the soup in batches is smart.

8:49 PM  

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