Summer is a wonderful time of the year: warm, sunny, longer daylight, abundance of fresh fruit, and new vegetables emerging almost daily.
These are days that you don’t want to even turn on the stove, just wanting something cold, refreshing. Gazpacho soup is a perfect option.
What is the origin of gazpacho soup?
Gazpacho is a cold soup from the south of Spain’s Andalusia region. Originally gazpacho was nothing but a soup made from bread, water, garlic, and olive oil. Pounded in a large wooden bowl called a dornillo. It was a peasant food that used up week-old bread which was stale but not spoiled. This soup was simple enough that they could make it in the fields.
There is a lot of uncertainty about what the word Gazpacho means. There are hypotheses that the Arab moors introduce the bread-soup to the Iberian peninsula and they had a similar dish with a possibly similar name.
For centuries the name and soup evolved. There are different versions of the soup and different colors and ingredients. There are white, red, and green pallets of the soup. Some soups are seasoned with anchovies and cumin, there are versions that in addition to bread use more sophisticated ground almonds. But they are always served cold.
Nowadays, the most famous soup is Tomato Gazpacho.
Tomatoes first landed in the Eurasian continent in Iberia. Southern Spain.
Iberia became home to the first tomato and pepper transplants brought over by the Spaniards from Mesoamerica. The rich soils of Andalusia became a medium where tomatoes were most likely cultivated before taking the rest of the Eastern hemisphere over by the storm.
The prolific yield of tomatoes in the summer made them a perfect addition to the bread soup.
Gazpacho soup made with tomatoes is considered the most authentic gazpacho soup.
Let’s make a gazpacho soup together…
What ingredients are needed for the soup?
There are two parts to gazpacho. The first component is the soup base itself and the second part is the garnishes. And let’s face it who doesn’t love garnishes? This is where everyone can become creative and put their own touch to this dish.
- Sherry wine
- Smoked paprika
- Green or multi-color Bell Pepper
- Red onions
- Sherry wine
- Smoked paprika
- Cayenne pepper
How to make gazpacho?
For my version of the gazpacho soup, I try to keep the base soup simple, clean, yet flavorful.
I start with fresh sun-ripened tomatoes and use a combination of tomatoes (Roma, cherry, Campari, or farmer’s market misfit heirloom tomatoes). My preferred method to puree tomatoes is to run them through a food mill. I like this method because you get the smooth and vibrant red tomato nectar without seeds and skin. There is nothing wrong with seeds and skin, but I find that the seeds change the color and texture a little bit. By all means, use a blender if the food mill is not an option for you.
I separately dice the rest of the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, jalapeños, and onions. Using an onion chopper gives me very fine and consistent small bites of veggies.
I keep these separate as I will use some of the diced vegetables as a garnish and serve as an optional topping. To take the edge off the raw onion taste, I marinade the onions in red vinegar for at least 30 minutes. This little step mellows the bitterness of the onion and makes it more palatable.
The bread is an essential part of gazpacho soup. It is used as a thickener and turns the soup into a substantiation, filling meal. Using stale crusty bread will give the soup body.
I prefer crouton or toasted bread alongside the gazpacho. To make the home made toast, cut the baguette into cubes or slices and put them in a 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes.
Adding toasted breadcrumbs as a topping is also an option.
Putting everything together
Once I have my tomato puree base and vegetables diced, I add half of the diced vegetables into the tomato puree.
Cover the soup base and put it into the refrigerator to chill.
How to serve gazpacho?
After a couple of hours, the flavors in the soup are melted together and the soup is ready to serve.
Ladle the soup into a bowl and add garnishes of your choice. Sprinkle the toasted croutons or dunk the baguette slices into the soup.
This gazpacho soup is a summer favorite.
Gazpacho – Spanish Cold Tomato Soup
- 2 lb Tomatoes pureed
- 2-3 Tomatoes diced
- 2 Cucumber diced
- 1 Bell pepper (yellow or green) diced
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 Jalapeno diced
- 2 garlic crushed
- 2 tablespoon sherry wine
- 1-2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 loaf Baguette toasted
- Using a food mill or a blender, puree the tomatoes.
- Dice all the vegetables and keep them separate.
- Marinade the onion in red vinegar for 15-30 minutes.
- Combine half of the diced vegetables to the tomato puree and add the vinegar, seasoning and crushed garlic, drizzle with oil. Gently stir and let the soup base chill for at least an hour.
- Slice baguette slices in the 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve the rest of the diced vegetables for garnishes.
- To serve ladle the soup into a bowl, add desired garnishes, along with the piece of toast.