I love gazpacho.
During our time in Spain, I ordered it every time I discovered it on a menu and would have gladly eaten this cold soup during the winter if only it had been available. Alas, it's a seasonal item.
This recipe rivals the best tasted in my Don Quixote-like quest for the ultimate gazpacho.
How do I describe the sensations of gazpacho for you? The soup itself is cold and tart with a smooth texture, which stands out in contrast to the crisp, finely diced vegetables (and bread) served on top of the soup. It is so refreshing.
Although tomatoes weren't part of the recipe until the 1700s, gazpacho-like soups date back to ancient times. Originally from Andalusia, the southern region of the Iberian Peninsula, the soup is now known worldwide. We sampled a slightly different gazpacho in Andalusia; it was green. Pureed avocado had been included in the mix.
I've noticed a tendency in the U.S. to serve gazpacho that resembles a thick and chunky salsa. This may closely approximate the early versions of gazpacho and be rich in fiber, but it's not what I experienced in Spanish restaurants. In my mind, it's like comparing a chunky potato soup to a more refined vichyssoise.
Northwest resident Lois Britton also writes about her culinary adventures at http://FoodLoveLanguage.blogspot.com. Have a question or a food related story to share? Contact her at FoodLoveLanguage@gmail.com.
3 cups tomato juice
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Wondra flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash black pepper
white bread, cucumber, onion, and tomato (for toppings)
Combine tomato juice, cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, onion and garlic in blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, process until smooth; strain through fine mesh strainer into a bowl, working the mixture through with the back of a spoon. (If you have a juice extractor, not a citrus juicer, you can process the vegetables, combine the resulting juice with the tomato juice and proceed with the remaining steps.)
Add olive oil, vinegar, Tabasco, Wondra flour, salt and pepper. Chill.
Serve with finely diced bread, cucumber, onion, tomato, and bell pepper on the side. Each diner can decide which of the toppings they would like to have on their gazpacho.