I first fell in love with Gazpacho while coaching basketball in Madrid one summer. I’ve visited other parts of Spain many times since and have enjoyed the regional differences in flavors and approach to this chilled soup. The two things that are consistent across regions is one – they use only the ripest tomatoes and two – they are served extremely chilled.
Summertime offers access to all varieties of ripe tomatoes as well as a variety of options for ingredients. At our neighborhood farmers’ market I was able to cop a few different heirloom tomatoes, purple sweet peppers, and amaranth.
I kept my Gazpacho recipe simple and just really focused on using high quality ingredients which is critical, especially since there is no cooking involved. You can be as fancy and complicated as you desire, but it’s really unnecessary. The choice in ingredients really just depends on the color and texture you’re after. Use your imagination. I’m more of a texture guy and love a mouthfeel that includes a thicker, chunkier texture with bits and pieces of the vegetables, but I’ve also at times gone more for the smoothie texture which you can easily get with more pulsing and the addition of some water or vegetable juice.
Bread is another consideration. I’ve made it with and without, as part of the recipe or as a topping. Either way is good, it’s just a preference thing as well as calorie consideration if you watch such things.
- 4 large very ripe tomatoes cored and cut into rough chunks
- 1 medium cucumber peeled, seeded, and cut into rough chunks
- 1 medium red onion peeled and cut into rough chunks
- 1 medium bell pepper (color of your choice), cored, seeded, and cut into rough chunks
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 slices of bread crusts removed torn into rough 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons sherry or balsamic vinegar plus more for serving
- Basil amaranth, or parsley for garnishing
Place bread pieces in a small bowl.
Combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, pepper, garlic, pepper, and salt in food in large bowl and mix well.
Pour the juices off into the bowl with the bread allowing the bread to soak up the juices.
Transfer mixture and bread to processor/blender and pulse for 15-20 seconds depending on your preferred consistency.
Remove from blender and put in a large bowl. Taste and add additional seasoning as needed. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Freeze serving bowls during this time as well.
To serve drizzle each bowl with olive oil, a few sprinkles of vinegar, extra cracked black pepper, and strips of herbs.
Two key things with this recipe is to choose very ripe tomatoes and to make sure the soup is absolutely chilled.