Tuesday, July 13, 2010

GAZPACHO 101


(HOW TO KEEP YOUR COOL WHEN THE SCHVITZ IS ON)


When the heat is on and you cannot bear the thought of turning on the oven-keep your cool with refreshing gazpacho. Gazpacho originated in Spain as an afternoon snack. The true Andalusia version has almonds, bread, grapes, olive oil, vinegar and salt. Sometimes, anchovies are added. It is peasant food that utilizes leftover ingredients. The bread is soaks up water, and then the mixture is pounded with a mortar and pestle. The gazpacho is creamy and refreshing.

The gazpacho that we know came after Columbus when he brought peppers and tomatoes to Spain. The secret to great gazpacho is not to let any one ingredient be more pronounced than any other. The whole dish should be in harmony and very subtle and delicate in flavor.

Be sure to use your best olive oil for gazpacho. Because the gazpacho is not cooked, the flavor of the oil is very important. I use an unfiltered, organic Spanish extra virgin olive oil. It is delicious and I only use it for salads, cold soups and finishing sauces.

When the weather is hot and you do not feel like cooking, you can still entertain with style. Whirr up several gazpachos, pour some sangria and enjoy.

Recipes adapted from my book JEWISH COOKING FOR ALL SEASONS (John Wiley and Sons)


Tomato Gazpacho
This is a version of the soup that we commonly eat here in America. It is refreshing and delicious

4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 red bell pepper-seeded and de-veined
1 small English cucumber-peeled and seeded
2-3 pounds very ripe tomatoes
1 cup of soft bread torn into pieces-left over challah trimmed of crust will work nicely
¼ cup rice vinegar
Splash of sherry (optional)
1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil-use your best tasting oil here
2 cups unsalted tomato juice
1 teaspoon pimenton*
Salt and pepper

1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until very smooth and the mixture is peach colored.
2. Cover the gazpacho and chill it completely before serving. Adjust slat and pepper to taste.
3. Garnish with: herbed croutons, chopped cucumber, fresh parsley, chopped egg, Extra Virgin olive oil, hot chilies, roasted peppers. Use your imagination!

• **Pimenton is a Spanish smoked paprika. It is really not comparable to the paprika found in most grocery stores. It has a wonderful sweet smokiness essential to Paellas, chorizo and other Spanish delicacies. Pimenton can be found readily on-line or at specialty markets and at The Spice House on-line.


White Gazpacho (Ajo Blanco)
This is a version of the classic gazpacho from Andalusia. I love this version. It is beautiful in a glass bowl or a wine glass.

4 cloves garlic
1 quart of ice cold water
2 cups soft bread-crusts removed
6 ounces blanched almonds
2 cups of green grapes-peeled
¼ cup rice vinegar
Splash of sherry
1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil-Use your best tasting olive oil
Salt and pepper


1. Place All of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and the process until very smooth. Add the reserved water to adjust the consistency.
2. Chill the gazpacho until it is very cold. Garnish with toasted almonds, grapes and flat leaf parsley.


Green Gazpacho (from Axarquia in Malaga)
This is a gazpacho that really highlights the vegetation of the mountains in Malaga. This version is a “shepherd’s gathering soup”. I love the herbaceous flavor and bright green color. I feel cool and refreshed just looking at this gorgeous concoction.

2 cloves garlic
1 small bulb of fennel-fronds removed and saved for garnish
2 cups watercress leaves or favorite lettuce
¼ cup flat leaf parsley leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
¼ cup rice vinegar
Splash of sherry (optional)
1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil-use your best tasting olive oil
1 quart of ice cold vegetable stock or water
Salt and pepper



1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until the gazpacho is completely smooth. Adjust consistency if necessary.
Chill the gazpacho completely before serving.
2. Garnish with fresh aioli, chopped mint, diced cucumber, reserved fennel fronds.


Gazpacho
This version is pure American and playful. I love cold food and am always looking for new ways to show off the flavors of food when chilled.

2 cloves garlic
3 pounds yellow tomatoes-or favorite heirloom tomatoes, roasted, peeled and seeded
1 cup yellow watermelon
1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil-Use your best tasting olive oil
¼ cup rice vinegar
Splash of sherry
1 quart ice cold water
Salt and pepper

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Chill thoroughly before serving.
2. Garnish with watermelon cubes, diced tomatoes, aioli, flat leaf parsley.

1 comment:

  1. It sounf very interesting i have really only tried the tomato version which my grandmother from Melilla, Morroco but actually considered Spain used to make.
    Looking forward to making the green one for dinner tonight

    ReplyDelete