Recipe for gazpacho: cold, Andalusian tomato soup
One of the highlights of my year is when we get the first tomatoes and I can start making gazpacho. I first tasted gazpacho on my year abroad in Sevilla. In the oppressive Sevilla heat, gazpacho was a refreshing interlude and we would go to a bar where you could order it by the glass. Bars serve a slightly watered down version in long glasses with ice cubes that you can drink. Restaurants, on the other hand, serve a thicker version in a bowl and served with finely diced garnishes (hard-boiled egg, cucumber, green pepper, onion, tomato, croutons). When I first saw gazpacho being made by a woman in Seville, I was sure she cracked an egg into the mix before blending. Later at another person’s house, she admitted to adding a spoonful of mayonnaise to the mixture.
There are literally hundreds of ways of preparing gazpacho and each person has their own recipe. Here is mine. You can make it as fine or as chunky as you like. If you prefer, you can sieve it after to remove the seeds and skins. If you would like to serve it as a drink, then add more water. I like to add a spoon of mayonnaise as well as I think that this improves the texture and taste but it’s entirely up to you.
The quantities are approximate and really depend on how many people you are preparing it for. The important thing is that the tomatoes must be red and ripe as the flavour really does depend on the ingredients you put in.
1-2kg ripe tomatoes
1 Spanish cucumber (or about 15cm of a long cucumber)
1 large Spanish green pepper or 1/2 Italian green pepper
5 cloves garlic
2 capfuls of balsamic vinegar
a good slug of olive oil
1 dessertspoon mayonnaise
Blend all the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Add as much water as you like.
Taste and add more salt, vinegar, garlic, etc. if necessary.