Gazpacho

Mike and my travel plans to Spain are finalized.  Now all I seem to do is daydream about our trip.  All I know about Spain is that it is known for tapas (small plates of food), bullfighting (which I do not want to see), and gifted artist (Gaudi, Picasso, and Dali).

In doing some research on traditional foods of Spain, I learned about gazpacho.  This is a cold soup, sometimes referred to as a "salad soup" because it is laden with vegetables.  Although gazpacho was popularized in Southern Spain, the origin is muddled; some theories point to Arabians and others to the Romans.  It is known that the addition of tomatoes to the soup did not occur until after Christopher Columbus (an Italian explorer bankrolled by Spain) returned from Mexico and the New World. 

 Gazpacho was a soup eaten by peasants and shepherds.  It contained multiple vegetables, stale bread, olive oil, and vinegar.  Because the soup was cold, it served as a tasty drink to cool you in the heat of the Summer and give you a nutritional boost. 

In modern times, gazpacho can be made in minutes with the use of a food processor or blender.  Otherwise, you'll have to grind all the produce into a paste with a mortar and pestle.

 I'm not a huge fan of garlic, so I cut back on the called for amount.  I was surprised how all the flavors came through.  First, I could taste the tomatoes and cucumbers.  Then, the greens (celery and parsley) hit my tastebuds.  Finally, the onion and garlic finished the bite.  

I hope you share in this taste of Spain with me.  Here's to good food and gladness!

CLICK HERE for a printer friendly recipe.  Recipe derived from Simply Recipes.  Makes about 12 cups of gazpacho.

Ingredients for Gazpacho

  •  5 to 7 medium tomatoes (about 4 cups rough chopped); deseeded
  • 1/2 yellow onion 
  • 1 cucumber; peeled, deseeded, rough chop
  • 1 bell pepper; deseeded and rough chop
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 to 6 drops of hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (omit for vegan/vegetarian option)
  • 2 cups tomato juice 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor combine vegetables (first nine ingredients) and blend until desired consistency.  I chose a smooth texture, but having some chunks is okay too.  Pour into a large plastic or glass bowl.
  2.  Add vinegars, oil, lemon juice, hot sauce, tomato juice and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir, taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.  Add more tomato juice if wanting a thinner soup.  Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to meld.