Del gazpacho nu bay empacho (You do not get an upset stomach from gazpacho – Spanish Proverb)
Gazpacho. I adore gazpacho in the summertime when the temperatures start reaching into the upper 80s and 90s. It’s cool and refreshing and thankfully comes into play at a time when my garden seems to conspire with the universe to provide me with more than enough raw ingredients to make several batches.
If you are a visual learner like me jump over to my video recipe to watch.
Gazpacho originated as a Moorish soup made from stale bread soaked in water, olive oil, and almonds. It was a filling soup born from the economical use of all your foodstuffs. The name gazpacho originated from the Latin word ‘caspa’ referring to leftover pieces of bread. Shepherds may have enjoyed early versions, but it was substantially enhanced by hard-working farmers plowing in the hot sun. Gazpacho not only quenched hunger and thirst but replenished their bodies with much-needed vitamins and salt.
Though we know it today as tomato soup it wasn’t until after the discovery of the New World that tomatoes found their way into this classic chilled soup. My version goes even further and adds the cool sweetness of perfectly ripe watermelons. I leave bread out of the soup because I like the purity of just the vegetables and fruits.
Tomato Hearts and Other Garnishes
Let your heart guide you on how to finish your gazpacho. My favorite toppings include very finely diced vegetables; a chiffonade of basil; drizzles of fruity olive oil; crunchy croutons; chopped roasted and salted Marcona almonds; tomato hearts with flake salt; oven-dried Iberico ham, and/or a piquillo pepper granite (see recipe below). Undoubtedly one of the coolest humans alive today is José Andrés, the celebrated chef, and humanitarian. I have watched his Masterclass on Gazpacho and Life more times than I care to admit. I am struck by his passionate approach to cooking which coincides with my personal beliefs. I never called the inner tomato a tomato heart until I watched this.
What I love most about gazpacho is that the dish exists mostly as a feeling rather than a single precise recipe to adhere too. There really isn’t a right or wrong way to enjoy it. I offer my recipe as mere guidelines; you should adjust the final result to fit your tastes.
p.s. To make your own oven-dried Iberico ham, set your oven to 200 degrees F. Lay several thin slices of Iberico ham (or prosciutto) on a silpat and cook slowly for an hour, or until dry and crispy. Adding ham is very untraditional – but I love the meaty crunch it adds to the meal.
Refreshing Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho with Piquillo Pepper Granite
A chilled Moorish soup modernized for today's palate
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes rough cut
- 1 pound ripe watermelon peeled and rough cut
- 1 green pepper seeded and rough cut
- 1 sweet onion peeled and rough cut
- 2 cucumbers peeled and rough cut
- 2 cloves garlic, optional chopped finely
- sea salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp sherry vinegar
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
To make: Combine all the gazpacho ingredients in a blender and puree for 1 minute or until the gazpacho reaches your desired consistency. I prefer mine slightly coarse but it is delish completely smooth or very chunky. Some people even strain the soup and serve it more in a tea-like consistency. Refrigerate the gazpacho for a minimum of 4 hours.
To serve: Let your heart guide you. My favorite toppings include very finely diced vegetables; chiffonade of basil; drizzles of great olive oil; croutons; chopped Marcona almonds; tomato hearts with flake salt; oven-dried Iberico ham, and/or a piquillo pepper granite (see recipe below).
Piquillo Pepper Sorbet
a refreshing addition to gazpacho
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 sweet onion rough sliced
- 9.9 oz piquillo peppers in a jar drained
- 1/4 cup simple syrup
- 1 tsp flake salt
- 1/2 tsp piment d'Ville or Espelette pepper
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 2 tsp fresh thyme chopped
Heat olive oil in a skillet until hot and sauté onions until tender, about 5 minutes. Add piquillo peppers, simple syrup, salt, piment, lemon juice, and fresh thyme and puree until smooth in a blender.
If you have an ice cream maker: freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. If you do not have an ice cream maker: pour into a container and freeze. The sole difference will be that your granite will have more ice crystals.