I am saying goodbye to the summer with my all-time favorite soup, Gazpacho. Last week in the North African Cucumber Salad post, I shared how this summer, I have had to work creatively to eat up my produce, well the Gazpacho has actually made things easy for me. It is my favorite soup recipe for the summer, I love the way it is crunchy and sometimes smooth and cold and packed with nutrients. I also love its rich and complex savory flavors.
My first encounter with Gazpacho was when I was a young woman in my late teens living in Madrid, Spain. I had just moved there at the end of the summer to start my college education. The beginning of my formal education marked the official beginning of my exploratory eating. For the first time, I was away from home in a country defined by a whole new cuisine and food preparation methods, there was much to be discovered.
On one of my grocery shopping expeditions, one of the items I picked up was a sachet box with a picture of a bowl with a creamy orange like liquid. I always pick foods like that without having much thought as to what they really are. When I got home, I figured that it was a soup so I emptied the contents into a sauce pan to heat it up. My Spanish roommates laughed at the sight of my boiling soup and I did not hear the last of that naïve act for the rest of the semester. I leant never to boil my Gazpacho.
Over the years, my recipe for gazpacho has veered slightly from the traditional recipe I was introduced to many years ago, I add red bell peppers and also poblano peppers to enrich the flavor. I also tend to not completely puree the soup so as to enjoy the crunchy consistency of the vegetables.
Serves 3-4 Preparation Time: 10 minutes Chilling time: 1 hour
1.5 Lb. plum tomatoes
¼ green bell pepper
¼ red bell pepper
½ green poblano pepper
½ yellow onion
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ Tbsp. salt
½ Tbsp. sugar
1 chili pepper
2 cloves of garlic
¼ bunch of parsley
1 chili pepper, 1 parsley leaf and 1 slice of the cucumber diced, some group black pepper (optional)
Peel garlic and onion and wash all vegetables. Dice all vegetables; tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, garlic and onions and place into the blender. Leave one slice of the cucumber for the garnish. Depending on the size of your blender, you might need to work in two or more batches, if so, make sure to divide contents in equal parts. Pour in olive oil and vinegar and sprinkle salt and sugar.
Blend contents until smooth. Chop baguette and add small pieces at a time and continue blending. If soup becomes too thick as you add the bread, you can add a little water to smoothen out the consistency.
Chill soup in the fridge for 1 hour and when ready to serve, garnish with a chili, parsley leaf and the diced cucumber slice. Grind some black pepper on to as well if desired.