Summer is almost over and I could not let it go without making gazpacho. And since last week was hot and humid in NYC I thought to myself let’s make gazpacho – an easy and simple dish to make in a hot day. This healthy soup is a Spanish staple and a summertime favorite not only in Spain but also in Portugal. Traditionally, gazpacho is a tomato based vegetable soup which originated in southern Spain in the area of Andalucía. It is served during summer and for good reason it is served cold; therefore, it is very refreshing in a hot day. This soup is super easy to make. It is like making a smoothie.
Latin America cuisine has been in one way or another influenced by the Spanish gastronomy and vice versa Spain has adopted lots of the ingredients brought by the colonizers to the old world. None the less, in the Dominican Republic where I grew up, this soup is not popular. I found this strange because we have all the conditions to have adapted this Spanish dish; the heat, especially in the summer is the ideal climate for a cold soup. The ingredients, tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, vinegar and olive oil are all ingredients that are part of the Dominican Republic cuisine, but yet in the DR we do not eat much gazpacho.
As a passionate cook in love with food and lately deeply in love with Spanish and Peruvian food this dish excites me greatly. Spanish food is really popular these days, chefs such as Ferran Adria, Joan Roca, and Jose Andres (one of my food idols and my inspiration for this soup today) have brought the Spanish cuisine to the highest level of the international scene as never seen before. However, my everyday teachers are chefs such as Bruno Oteiza and Karlos Arguiñano whom I follow through one of the Spanish station. None of them yet know how crazy I am about them….please don’t tell them and enjoy this soup which I adapted from a Jose Andres Gazpacho soup recipe that I found in the internet.
I added a tiny bit of cilantro to add the Latin flavor and a bit of parley to preserve its Mediterranean heritage. There are many modern versions for gazpacho with or without tomatoes or bread to be found everywhere including those make with fruits. Enjoy!
For the soup: (use green market fresh if possible or organic)
3 lbs. of tomatoes
1 fresh cucumber chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 clove of fresh garlic
1 medium fresh onion (scallions or leek will also work well)
Cilantro and parsley (optional)
1/3 of sherry vinegar
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish if available)
1-2 cups of chilled water or ice cube (optional if you like a thick consistency)
Sea or pink salt to taste
Black pepper optional
For the Croutons:
3-4 slices of white bread –borders removed
Clarify butter or olive oil (see instructions on how to make clarify butter below)
For the garnish selection:
Extra olive oil
Diced cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers or jalapeños
Sea or pink salt to taste
Black pepper (optional)
For the soup:
Start by washing and chopping all your vegetables. In a food processor or blender combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, garlic, onions, cilantro, parsley, sherry vinegar, olive oil and water-ice cube. Season with salt and pepper and puree everything until you acquire a desire consistency (chunky or smooth). For a more smooth consistency strain the gazpacho using a strainer. Taste to see if it needs additional seasoning and adjust if needed. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate at least for 30 -1 hour before serving.
*alternatively and for a more traditional method the vegetables can be pounded with a mortar- pestle and then strained by using a food mill. This method keeps the gazpacho cool and without foams.
For the clarify butter:
Clarify butter can be made by gently melting unsalted butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Do not cover. A foam will formed on top; remove it carefully with a spoon or strain it through cheesecloth. Reserve until needed.
For the Croutons:
Remove the brown edges from the bread and cut the white portion into small cubes 1-2 cm square. Cook the croutons with the clarify butter until they are golden brown. Set aside until needed.
To serve or assembly:
Pour the chilled soup into water glasses or small soup bowls. Top with the diced veggies and the croutons. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil and serve. Enjoy
This post is also available in: Spanish