This refreshing cold Spanish Gazpacho soup is loaded with fresh, crunchy vegetable and is incredibly easy to make. Perfect served al fresco on a hot summer’s day.
Gazpacho is all about the quality of the tomatoes. Period. Off-season tomatoes found at supermarkets and markets have come a long way from the bland, watery kind we have been use to buying for years. They aren’t perfect, but in a pinch, and if you shop wisely, they are perfectly acceptable. Having said that, off-season tomatoes are not for this soup. For gazpacho you need to hold off, in the end your patience will pay off. We are only a few weeks away from the explosive variety of splendid August tomatoes that will be abundant at all the markets. A few varieties of homegrown Heritage tomatoes are already around at the markets and with the scorching temperatures we are having there is no better time to make this soup.
I am super picky about gazpacho. I once had a very bland watery gazpacho that put me off from ordering it anywhere ever again. I even thought twice about making it at home not trusting any recipes I found. But this summer heat has made the weather forecasters look good. They predicted a very dry, hot summer and, for once, they were right.
What is Gazpacho al estilo de Patricia
Tempted by the promise of a cold and simple dish, I could no longer ignore the lure of a well-made gazpacho. I kept coming across the super popular recipe of Spanish chef José Andrés (watch him on the Ellen show – hilarious!) and I decided it was time to give this great dish another chance. The recipe, explains José Andrés, is from his wife Patricia. “Gazpacho al estilo de Patricia” translates from Spanish to “Patricia’s-style Gazpacho”. She doesn’t cook much but gazpacho is her specialty and he claims it is why he married her. Well let’s just say when a world renowned chef claims his wife’s gazpacho is that good, I’m in.
How to make Gazpacho
I started with beautiful ripe tomatoes from the market and from there the rest of the ingredients were few, most of which you will already have at home. The tomatoes got a quick chop, as did half of a cucumber, a red pepper, a green pepper, a white onion, and a clove of garlic. Tossed into the blender this mix starts looking very promising with the beautiful bright colours of the tomatoes and the smell of the fresh, sweet peppers all glistening brightly.
While the blender was whizzing away, I cubed some bread and the remaining ingredients for the garnish. As important as it is to have the tastiest, ripest tomatoes, equally important is the seasoning for this dish. Gazpacho benefits form the sweet tang of sherry vinegar which brilliantly balances the tomato flavour, and from a good dose of good quality extra-virgin olive oil. Tomatoes always need more salt than you think so taste and adjust accordingly. Though optional, I love the bit of zing a few pinches of dried chili flakes add to the soup. Amazingly, this dish came together in less than 10 minutes. The flavours were intense and rich, and the texture more luscious than I could have imagined. A large pitcher now chills beautifully in my fridge, ready to be poured out and enjoyed on these warm and sunny summer days.
Play with the toppings, adding or taking away as you please, but do try it at least once with the croutons, easy to make they add a delicious little crunch that I find heavenly. Gazpacho is delicious served immediately but is even better the next day when it has chilled for hours in the fridge and the flavours have had a chance to mingle and intensify. If serving immediately, add a handful of ice cubes to the blender to give it a good chill. In the end, I think you too will agree with chef José Andrés, his wife Patricia makes a very fine Gazpacho.
- 1 pound very ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 green pepper cut into large chunks
- 1/2 red pepper cut into chunks (reserve other half for garnish)
- 1/2 medium cucumber peeled and cut into chunks (reserve other half for garnish)
- 3/4 of a medium white onion reserve 1/4 for garnish
- 1 large garlic clove or 2 small
- 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 slices of rustic white bread
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cucumber peeled and diced small
- 1/2 red pepper diced small
- 1/4 white onion diced
- For the Gazpacho:
- Toss the tomatoes, green pepper, red pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic, and sherry vinegar, into a blender and mix until you have a thick liquid and vegetables are completely puréed.
- Taste and add a splash more vinegar for balance, if needed.
- Add the chili flakes (if using), salt, pepper, and olive oil and blend again.
- Taste again and add more salt if needed.
- If serving immediately, add a handful of ice and blend until you hear no more crackling from the ice, or if serving later, refrigerate until well chilled for at least 30 minutes.
- For the Garnish:
- Heat the olive oil in a small pan and fry the slice of bread on both sides until golden brown. Remove bread from pan, let cool for a few minutes then cut into cubes.
- To serve, pour into glasses or bowls and top with a tablespoon of the diced red pepper, cucumber, onion, and croutons. Drizzle each serving with a few more drops of olive oil. Serve and enjoy immediately.