I know of no better use for ripe tomatoes at their peak than Gazpacho. Historically, Gazpacho was likely made to use up stale bread. A liquid salad, made of ripe tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, vinegar, garlic and bread moistened with water and olive oil, would have been pounded with a mortar and pestle, resulting in a hearty cold soup. Today, Gazpacho is made in blenders and food processors for a smoother consistency. Some people recommend straining the Gazpacho before serving but others prefer the texture of the soup unstrained. I’m with the latter group.
Thick or thin, smooth or textured, this flavorful liquid salad that hails from Andalusia, Spain is an absolute breeze to assemble and should be a part of every cook’s repertoire. It’s an excellent choice for entertaining because it requires no cooking, and can be made ahead. In fact, preparing the soup ahead of time is best because it allows the soup time to chill and the flavors time to develop.
This version of Gazpacho is every bit as refreshing and nourishing without the bread and olive oil and has the perfect balance between flavour and texture for me.
- 6 large tomatoes,
- 1 medium hothouse or English cucumber
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored and seeded
- 1 small red onion, peeled
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 60 ml fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 125 ml filtered water
Since I like Gazpacho with texture rather than completely smooth, this recipe calls for the soup to be only partially pureed. If you prefer a smoother texture, blend the tomatoes with the other ingredients until you reach your desired consistency.
Place 5 chopped tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a high speed blender and puree. Pour into a large bowl. Finely dice the remaining vegetables and add them to the bowl; or, coarsely chop the vegetables and run them, one at a time, through a food processor. Once all of the vegetables have been added to the pureed tomato mixture in the bowl, stir the soup to blend and adjust seasonings. Add water to thin, if necessary, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.