Gazpacho ~ The Coolest Salad Soup with a Blushing Start …

Posted: July 17, 2015 in Soup, Tea Time Treats, Vegetable Palette, Vegetarian
Tags: , , , , ,

All soups are meant to be served piping hot, right? Wrong. There’s one exception to the rule – the mysteriously and extraordinarily special soup that must be consumed chilled or iced cold, even. 

This! 

 
A Blushing Moment to Remember Forever and Ever…

I only started to know about the existence of this cold soup in 1996, while dining in a Portuguese restaurant with my other half somewhere in Leuven. The dinner was something to remember as well. It was a “present” from hubby for my achieving A+ results in the Dutch language course. It was a cold Autumn night in October and we chanced upon a quaint looking Restaurant. We stepped inside and the friendly-looking waiter beckoned us to a table for two in a quiet corner near the warm radiator. What bliss!

While perusing the menu card, we both wanted to start with something truly mediterranean and warm. “Gaspacho” sounded immensely mediterranean and warm. (By the way, it’s Gaspacho in Portuguese and Gazpacho in Spanish. We happened to be in a Portuguese resto, hence, the “s” instead of “z“… )

And lo and behold… the soup was iced cold!!

I looked at hubby and he looked back. We were thinking the same thing. The chef forgot to heat the soup up! Hubby waved at the waiter and told him about our chilled soups. He smiled and politely replied, “Gazpacho is a soup made of raw vegetables and is always served cold”

Oooops!! *blush*

Henceforth, that one embarrassing episode became the locus of my unwavering search for the culinary meaning of Gazpacho.

The Quest of the Perfect Gazpacho

Looking back almost 20 years when I first had that cold soup on a cold, chilly October, I vowed only to have Gazpacho during hot summers. I’m so glad the guys in my household love the cold puréed salad soup. I have bought ready-bottled gazpacho in our local supermarket but it’s just not the same when it’s fresh and home-made from scratch!

After 2 decades, I found the best tasting Gazpacho is still the traditional, tomato-based Andalusian version. Other versions may include avocado’s, yellow squash, carrot or courgette, but they don’t fit the bill! As a saying goes, ‘first impressions are the most lasting“.

Here’s how I made my Gazpacho enjoyed by my family during the hot temps we had recently.

This recipe is inspired by Oil & Vinegar, with changes adapted given by the availabilty of ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 5 tomatoes, slit an ‘X’ at the bottom of each tomato
  • 1 red bell pepper or capsicum or paprika, cubed
  • 1 cucumber (I used 3/4 part, cubed and reserved 1/4 part, skinned and diced finely for garnishing)
  • 1 onion, cubed or roughly chopped
  • 2 pieces bread, crusts removed and roughly torn (sprayed and soaked with some balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 dl wine (I used white wine, iso of red)
  • Cold drinking water (amount depends on how thick or thin you want your soup to be. Your call…)
  • Coarse sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly-milled black peppercorns, to taste

Make your own Garlic Oil –

Mix 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil with 2 fat cloves garlic, mashed with some coarse sea salt. Set aside

Garnish –

Skinned the 1/4 part cucumber and remove excess seeds, if any. Dice finely and refrigerate.

  
Method –

  1. Boil some water and steep the tomatoes for 20 to 25 seconds. Transfer to cold water and peel skin off the tomatoes. Once all done, cut the tomatoes in quarters and remove most of the seeds and roughly chop.
  2. Place all the chopped and cubed ingredients and the bread crumbs to a pot and purée or blend the mixture with an electric hand mixer
  3. As soon as you have reached the point where you’d say “Ah, that’s the texture I want“, then stop. It can be either chunky or smooth. I prefer the latter. Pour in the wine and season the soup to taste. Add more balsamic vinegar if you prefer your soup a bit more tangy (I don’t..)
  4. Add 2 Tbsp garlic oil and stir. Refrigerate for at least one hour
  5. Before serving, plate on individual bowl or any decorative glass and drizzle with the rest of the garlic oil and garnish with the cold diced cucumber

  

I served the soup as a starter – like tapas – with some Spanish bread sticks (Picos Camperos) and Bruschetta Italian herb mix dip. Muy buen!

   

  

Verdict:

If you love tomatoes, red paprikas, cucumbers, onions, garlics with a hint of “sour wine” (vinegar) and don’t mind at all sipping puréed salad cold, you will LOVE this soup! It’s a breeze to make and a blessing on a hot afternoon or warm evening. Simply refreshing and so light and healthy. I will definitely introduce this chilled soup to my family in Kuching real soon *wink*

Without much ado, I’m linking this “red” post to The Vegetable Palette ~ Glorious Reds, hosted by Shaheen of A2K ~ A Seasonal Veg Table

   

This refreshing soup makes great starter on any hot day and perfect when you’re having a BBQ. For this, I’m linking up to Tea Time Treats  with the July’s theme “BBQ Fodder’ hosted by Janie of The Hedgecombers  
 

 

Eat well, stay healthy, take care!

Cheers!

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Comments
  1. This looks delicious, but I still cannot really accept drinking cold soup, it just sounds weird to me all over. Let me head over to your house and have some first! 😉

  2. Kay says:

    I love gazpacho and yours looks amazing. Will make this soon with the hot weather…

  3. Nasifriet says:

    Ha ha … I was like you when I started my first sip. Even worst, had it on a cold evening!! I really had chills all over, but it took time to get over it. I like it now esp on very hot days. The soup must be fridge cold not room-temp cold. And you’re most welcomed to head over here 🙂

  4. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Kay. Glad you like it😊

  5. So lovely to make your acquaintance and thank you so much for sharing this delightful recipe with #vegetablepalette.

  6. HedgeComber says:

    Funny, I’ve never actually tried Gazpacho as it sounds (may I be blunt?) Horrid 😀
    However, it is now firmly on my foodie bucket list as I need to know what all the fuss is about!
    Janie x

  7. Nasifriet says:

    Ha ha … I didn’t like the first time.. It’s an acquired taste and now it’s my to go-to summer soups. Love it when it’s cold cold, definitely not room temperature cold. Do give it a try or maybe tries 😀

  8. HedgeComber says:

    I will, I absolutely promise! Too many people adore it for me to not try at least once (twice?!) 🙂

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