The idea of cold tomato soup never quite appealed to me. I pictured in my mind a frosty can of condensed, gelatinous sludge. Gross.
But when I studied in Spain, my host family made gazpacho. Being the courteous young man that I was, I went to Spain planning on trying everything at least once (this only backfired one time when I ate a slice of pickled pigs cheek, which was as disgusting as it sounds. No offense to anybody who likes pickled pigs cheek). So as I took the first bite of gazpacho, I had low expectations. But boy was it delicious. I was sold, and upon returning to the States, I started making gazpacho for anybody I could convince to try it.
Over the years we have modified our gazpacho recipe. The greatest thing about gazpacho is that it is so easy to make and you can adjust the ingredients according to your tastes.
So here is the "recipe" for gazpacho (recipe in quotes because we usually don't measure anything out).
- tomatoes (3-4 cups cherry tomatoes, or 3-4 large tomatoes)
- 1 red pepper
- 1 cucumber
- 1 avocado
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 slices stale french bread (optional, my wife never adds it)
- splash of olive oil
- splash of balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. My Spanish family ran the gazpacho through a food mill before serving, but I prefer the pulpy goodness.
Garnish with some avocado slices, cilantro, or hot peppers (I like to sprinkle a couple of piquins in my gazpacho to add a little kick). Bake up some artisan bread to go with this and you've got a complete, authentically Spanish, easy meal!