Spanish Gazpacho

De gazpacho no hay empacho.” – the Spaniards say, meaning that there’s never too much gazpacho.

Gazpacho, a traditional Spanish dish, comes from the autonomous southern coastal region of Andalusia. It originated in Andalusian kitchen in the Middle Ages, during the times when this region was under Moorish rule and strong Arabic influence. Although today Gazpacho is known mostly as a cold-served tomato-based soup, originally it was defined as a liquid salad, eaten mostly by workers and farmers. In its original form, it was basically just bread, water and olive oil mixed with few vegetable scraps. The modest basis of the dish contributed to declaring gazpacho a poor people’s food.

Over time the popularity of the liquid salad spread across whole Spain and neighboring countries leading to the creation of countless variants of the dish. In the region of Málaga ripe grapes were a common ingredient of the soup while in the coastal regions gazpacho was usually served with the sauce of anchovy bones. Tomatoes, now regarded as indispensable, were added to the soup first in XVth century, after Christopher Columbus brought these exotic vegetables to Europe from America. Today, gazpacho is still evolving with people experimenting with the addition of watermelon, eggs or mayonnaise. In some restaurants, it is even served with prawns, lobsters and clams what changes the dish from the traditional poor people’s food into a real feast for the palate.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • ½ medium cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ red onion, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup almonds
  • One slice of white bread
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and black pepper

Recipe:

  1. Roughly chop tomatoes, peppers onion and peeled cucumber. Seed and chop jalapeño.
  2. Tore bread into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Put the tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, olive oil, almonds, bread, vinegar, jalapeño, and garlic in a blender; season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth, adding up to ½ cup water if necessary. 
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Refrigerate for up to a few hours before serving or serve immediately.
  5. Garnish with small pieces of tomatoes, cucumber and vinegar.

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