Gazpacho is a highly popular Spanish soup, served cold and typically eaten during the summer months. The exact origin of the name gazpacho is mired in speculation, some claiming it is derived from Arabic, others say it is Greek or Latin.
The ingredients to this incredibly refreshing, delicious soup, have changed a lot over many hundreds of years, but the original ingredients of bread, garlic and olive oil have remained consistent.
When the Spaniards started bringing back tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers from the New World, in the 16th Century, it gradually evolved into its present day embodiment. The foundation of gazpacho comes from Andalucia and southern Portugal, where its original ingredients of stale bread, garlic, olive oil and water were pounded in a mortar to produce a thirst quenching soup to eat in the blazing heat of the Andalucian summer.
There are three basic variations of gazpacho:
1) Ajoblanco, a white soup that contains bread, garlic, almonds and sometimes grapes. This is popular in Granada and Malaga.
2) Salmorejo, a very thick tomato variation of gazpacho, without any vegetables blended in and topped with small chunks of jamon serrano and boiled egg.
3) Gazpacho de Tomate. This is the traditional Seville version and the most popular in and outside of Spain. It is easily the most healthy and nutritious of the three variations as it is made of fresh vegetables which have been marinated in a high quality extra virgin olive oil, such as the Llum Del Mediterrani Premium Organic Arbequina Extra Virgin olive oil or the El Lugar Del Soto, which give the gazpacho it's especially tasty, silky texture.
It is particularly important that the extra virgin oil used to make the gazpacho is of an extremely high quality as it will then capture and enhance the delicious flavours of the other ingredients. Gazpacho remains one of the best light meals to be eaten in hot weather, it is a cool, refreshing, flavoursome, highly nutritious and satisfying a dish as any you may hope to find in any recipe. "De gazpacho no hay empacho!" (there is no tiring of gazpacho, as the old adage goes).
Gazpacho Ingredients :
2 llbs Vine tomatoes or any very juicy, fresh sufficiently ripe tomatoes: cored of the white flesh and seeds.
1 Red Bell pepper,
2 slices bread (optional) - left-over white bread is the key to the texture of authentic gazpacho, helping to thicken it and round out all the flavours. Discard the crusts for optimum texture.
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil, quality here is far more important than quantity.
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar can be used as a substitute )
1 clove Garlic (optional)
Salt & Pepper.
To make, simply combine the vegetables in a food blender (consider making in batches) and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Then, add the vinegar, seasoning and slowly add the olive oil and continue to blend until silky smooth. Pass the mixture through a strainer to remove any solids and transfer to a container. Refridgerate for about 4-6 hours or overnight.
Often in Spain, you will find Gazpacho served in a glass as a starter on a warm day. We love to serve it in a bowl with an array of toppings that you can add when serving – diced pepper, cucumber and toasted bread work very well, but any vegetable that gives it a crunch and bit of additional texture will work well.