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Gazpacho

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Ingredients for Gazpacho before being pureed.

Gazpacho is among the most internationally famous Andalucian dishes. Countless variations of gazpacho exist, see the most famous being a pureed cold tomato and bread soup: a liquid salad to be enjoyed in hot weather. The ancestor of gazpacho predates the introduction of the tomato and pepper to Europe from the New World, capsule and was essentially a cold bread soup. Tomato-less gazpacho still exists, most often seen as Ajo Blanco, a puree of water, stale bread, almond flour, garlic (ajo in Spanish, the ingredient that gives its name to the dish), sherry vinegar, olive oil, and usually garnished with green grapes. Even when it has tomato as a primary ingredient, gazpacho isn’t always cold: hot gazpacho is the preferred preparation in winter.

In the dry summer heat, cold gazpacho is the only way to go, so Isabel taught me her recipe, taking advantage of the overabundance of ripe tomatoes and Spanish green peppers from the farm. Ripe tomatoes are necessary for success, and the flavors of oregano, cumin and sherry wine vinegar–all essential ingredients–should be present but not overwhelming.

Quantities are approximate, and can be changed according to taste: First we peeled and seeded eight medium-sized, ripe tomatoes (in our case the tomatoes were so ripe the skin peeled off easily, but in most cases it is necessary to score and blanch the tomatoes in boiling water, then shock in ice water to peel; removing seeds is desirable but optional) and combined them in a mixing bowl with two green peppers (we used the long, thin Spanish variety, but bell peppers can be substituted), oregano, three cloves of garlic, and small crumbled pieces of old bread. We blended it all together, seasoning with salt and pepper, cumin, sherry wine vinegar, and a generous quanitity of olive oil.

Although we didn’t use it, cucumber is often blended into the gazpacho, and it is possible, but not obligatory, to char the peppers over a flame to remove the skin first. Gazpacho should be left to sit refrigerated for at least an hour to allow flavors to meld.

You can eat gazpacho as is, or top it with any of a variety of garnishes, from toast or croƻtons, to minced hard boiled eggs, chopped raw onions, or tomato slices.

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The finished Gazpacho, with toast and chopped hard-boiled egg.

One Response to “Gazpacho”

  1. on 05 Jan 2007 at 2:51 pmRichard Laurenzi

    Dear Dan:

    Beato Te! I miei Congratulazioni! Your Blog is terrific and your adventures would make a wonderful book. I’d very much like to talk to you about blogging and websites and food too.

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