Summer is supposed to be officially over, but the cold weather won’t be setting in just yet. Gazpacho has been one of my favorite dishes of the summer. Traditionally from Andalucía, Spain it is a refreshing vegetable soup that can either be served as an appetizer, a side or enjoyed as a main dish.
This is the first time I actually made it myself and honestly, I can’t wait to make it again. Note: this is a dish you will need to prepare 2 – 3 hours before you want to eat it.
As a guideline for my gazpacho, I used the recipe from my Soup’s On cook book. I say guideline because any recipe I try, I generally tweak it to my tastes because that’s what makes cooking fun! This is how I made it:
– 1 small clove of garlic or 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
– 4 medium plum tomatoes, peeled (optional), seeded and chopped
– 1 medium zucchini, chopped
– 1 red onion, finely chopped
– 1 medium (or 1/2 of a large) green bell pepper, chopped
– 1 orange (red or yellow) bell pepper, chopped
– bread soaked in 1 cup water (I used a small hamburger bun sized amount); you could use baguette or your favorite bread
– 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 tablespoon sherry or balsamic vinegar
– freshly ground black pepper
For the garnish
– the remainder of the chopped zucchini and orange bell pepper
– you can also use chopped hard-boiled egg, chopped sweet onion, or plain croutons
Tear the bread into pieces and submerge in 1 cup of water. Meanwhile, chop up all the vegetables you’ll be using if you haven’t already. The first ingredients you’ll put in the blender are the garlic and the salt; blend briefly. Next add all of the vegetables, mixing shortly after each ingredient is added. You can blend until the mixture is smooth, but I prefer a chunky gazpaco and use the “mix” function instead. Once you’ve mixed the veggies together, gently squeeze the water from the bread, reserving the water. Add both the bread and the oil to the blender and blend until both are mixed in well. Now use the reserved bread water to thin the mixture to your desired consistency. I only added about 1/2 cup of the water and then 1/2 of the vinegar.
Now pour the gazpacho into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 90 minutes. Now’s a good time to prepare the garnishes (if you don’t have any leftover chopped veggies) and just keep them in the fridge until ready. Once your gazpacho has chilled, stir in the rest of the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the individual gazpacho with garnish or serve the garnish separate so that everyone can put as much on as they want.