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Gazpacho Soup

August 23, 2011

I don’t believe there is any such thing as too many tomatoes. And since I can never seem to get enough of them, this cold soup has been a summer favorite. In fact, I think the inaugural use of my very first blender, acquired during the summer after my sophomore year of college, was to make gazpacho soup.

That summer, and many summers to follow, I blended up a new batch of gazpacho about once a week, and took up valuable refrigerator space, keeping the large stock pot chilled and ready for hot-weather snacking.

The fall immediately following my newfound love of gazpacho, I went to study abroad in Barcelona. I hadn’t realized this before, but gazpacho is actually from southern Spain. As a result, it’s a lot easier to find at restaurants in the south of Spain than in the north, and a lot easier to find at restaurants in the Spanish summertime than in other seasons. I hope by now I’ve convinced you that the best thing to do is just to make it yourself.


Gazpacho is very simple to throw together, too, since it doesn’t actually involve cooking over any heat source; it’s more of a blend and chill kind of recipe. The most time-consuming step is refrigerating the soup for an hour before serving.

The secret to its tastiness is not just tomatoes: the soup is thickened by blending a slice or two of bread into the broth. I also like to use apple cider vinegar in my gazpacho, so it comes out nice and tart. Then I garnish it with ripe avocado slices, or serve it with warm fresh-baked bread on the side. I like the flavor combination of the tangy soup with the milder bread and avocado. (If apple cider vinegar makes it too acidic for your taste, you can try using less of it, or just use a few tablespoons of fresh lime juice instead.)

I know that some of you have already skipped ahead and noticed that this recipe calls for a can of tomato juice (or 6-8 ripe tomatoes, peeled, chopped, blended, and strained of seeds). And I know that some of you might have an aversion to V8-type vegetable purées, as firm believers that only fruits are juice-worthy, and not vegetables (although technically tomatoes are a kind of fruit…). But this soup takes tomato juice to a whole other, very different, level. It is tart, tangy, refreshing, and cold. It is the answer to your summer desire for juicy fresh tomato slices laced with olive oil, and the crispy snap of cucumbers sprinkled with salt and vinegar, all wrapped up in the laziness of wanting to sit back and slurp your summer vegetables up with a spoon.

RECIPE:

Gazpacho Soup (Spanish cold tomato soup)

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:
~ 1 large can tomato juice (or V8, or 6-8 ripe tomatoes, peeled, chopped, blended, and strained of seeds)
~ 1 medium white onion, chopped (yellow onion will work, too)
~ 1-2 slices of bread (any kind really, and it could be stale bread too; I used rosemary olive oil bread)
~ 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or use 2-3 Tbsp. of red wine vinegar or fresh lime juice)
~ 1/4 cup olive oil
~ half of a cucumber, peeled and very finely diced
~ half of a green bell pepper, very finely diced
~ 1-2 small tomatoes, finely diced
~ salt to taste
~ white or black pepper to taste
~ cayenne pepper, Tabasco, Tapatio, or Sriracha to taste

OPTIONAL:
~ 2-3 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, minced
~ 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
~ half of a white onion, very finely diced, to add after blending
~ half an avocado, sliced, to garnish each bowl when served
~ fresh chives, diced, to garnish each bowl when served

       

How to make it:

1. Pour a cup or two from the can of tomato juice into a blender or food processor. Add chopped onion and the torn-up bread slice(s). (And, optionally, basil or garlic.) Blend until nearly smooth.

    

2. Pour the blended mixture, and the rest of the tomato juice, into a large pot or bowl that you can later store in the fridge. Add apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Then add salt, ground pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Stir.

    

3. Finely dice one or two fresh tomatoes and any other optional crunchy additions to the soup: I add diced tomatoes, cucumber, and green pepper; some people also add diced onion or celery.

4. Cover and let chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. (The olive oil may separate, so the soup will probably need another good stir when you remove it from the fridge.)

5. Garnish with avocado slices or diced chives. Good for about a week, if you can make it last that long!

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. Rachel Pastan permalink
    August 26, 2012 5:14 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was wonderful!! Though it would have been better still with California ingredients. And I couldn’t find any decent avocado for garnish.
    I used the wine vinegar instead of the cider vinegar, which I thought was good. And I used fresh tomatoes for step one–I left the skins on, actually, then put them in the cuisanart and then pushed the whole mess through a strainer to get rid of the seeds.

    • August 26, 2012 6:20 pm

      Hi Rachel,
      Your comment just made my day!

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this gazpacho. I have to tell you that it’s not the same version as what I made for you earlier this month, though– for that one I used fresh tomatoes also (8-10 roma tomatoes), but I quartered, de-seeded, and roasted them (peels on, with a little olive oil) at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes before blending them up in step one. (Also I skipped the diced onion garnish for Paula and used red bell peppers from our CSA instead of green pepper.)

      That’s my new favorite way to make gazpacho– the roasted tomato flavor makes all the difference!

      • Rachel Pastan permalink
        August 27, 2012 3:45 am

        Good to know! It wasn’t as good as yours. There haven’t been any beautiful roma tomatoes here, so I’ve just been cooking with other varieties.

      • August 27, 2012 8:28 am

        I mostly chose roma tomatoes since after de-seeding you’re still left with plenty of tomato for roasting, but maybe some other sweet tomatoes would taste even better!

  2. November 15, 2012 6:47 am

    I have yet to try a gazpacho that I like but this one looks like it would do the trick!

    • November 15, 2012 9:12 am

      Really? Why this one? I’m curious! :) Also see my comment above for the latest way I’ve been making gazpacho (with roasted tomatoes!).

      This one is very simple to make, especially if you start with tomato juice. I’d recommend just taste-testing along the way, and maybe cutting back a bit on the apple cider vinegar if it seems like it’s going to be too acidic (especially if you’re not the biggest fan of gazpacho). The avocado garnishes also go a long way to balance the flavors and add to the deliciousness!

      • November 15, 2012 8:56 pm

        The other ones I’ve tried have been green gazpacho so like cucumber and the likes, but the red tomato one just seems more appealing. I will definitely take your advice when I try this out!

      • November 16, 2012 2:30 pm

        Wonderful; I hope you like it!

  3. June 5, 2013 2:55 pm

    Looks beautiful. You’ve inspired me to add gazpacho to our upcoming summer party :-)

    • June 13, 2013 11:06 am

      Yay, I’m glad to hear it! I seriously need to post a new gazpacho recipe of the roasted tomato version I’ve been making more recently, but I love all types of gazpacho… :)

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