Gazpacho and Salmorejo, two great Spanish cold tomato soups..….. I have been wanting to share these recipes with you for quite some time, but was waiting until I had my own tomatoes. Of course one can buy tomatoes all year round, but they don’t necessarily taste of tomato and who knows how far they have travelled or indeed how they were grown! As always I like to keep my food as seasonal as possible, preferring to wait until the time, or in this case the tomato, is ripe.
This time I am going to talk about gazpacho and leave salmorejo for another day. I am not sure which I prefer really, they both use many of the same ingredients but nevertheless the flavours are subtly different. If you were to search the web you would find many recipes for gazpacho, this particular one though actually comes from the next door neighbour, Paquita, who was good enough to make us some. We were still moving in to the new house and things were a little topsy-turvy; the gazpacho she brought round was more than welcome and soon became a regular part of our summer dining repertoire.
At this point I would just like to give my thanks to Paquita and also my wife who play the dual role of providing feedback on the food, and in particular the desserts I make, as well as providing continued support in keeping me thin. They are both more than willing to eat what I bake whilst disregarding the risk to their own waistlines!
The origins of gazpacho, and indeed salmorejo, are not really known, although most people would agree that they originally came from Andalusia in southern Spain. It is thought that both soups are in fact based on a dish of breadcrumbs, olive oil and vinegar from the time when Spain was under Muslim control. The Muslims controlled much of Spain from the 8th to the 15th centuries. They called their territory Al-Ándalus from which the region of Andalusia gets its name. Modern recipes use tomatoes and peppers which are from the New World. They could not therefore have been part of the original gazpacho recipe and as such what we currently know as gazpacho could not have come into existence until the 16th century at the earliest.
As gazpacho is made from fresh, raw ingredients, it is really important to get the best ones you can. Look out for locally produced products that are fresh and ripe. It is also worth finely chopping a little cucumber, tomato and green peppers to serve as a garnish for the soup.
1Kg Ripe tomatoes
1 Green pepper
2 Garlic cloves
½ Small Cucumber
½ Salad onion
100ml Olive oil
45ml Wine vinegar
1½ tsp Salt
Roughly chop all ingredients then blitz in a food processor.
Manually run the gazpacho through a food mill to remove excess air and any seeds of rough skin that may remain.
Very finely chop a little green pepper, onion and cucumber. Serve separately so guests can add as required.
Croutons can also be made from a couple of slices of fried or toasted bread.
Please note that the preferred peppers are the longer, slimmer green ones, often called Italian peppers. The larger, rounder bell peppers are not normally used in this recipe.
I know it uses quite a bit of olive oil and that in some countries it can be expensive. The taste does however benefit from good quality oil and as the recipe is for four servings the cost per head is probably not that high.
I hope you enjoy this simple and refreshing recipe for hot summer days and as always drop me a line and send me any comments or questions you might have.
tsp – Teaspoon – 5ml
tbsp – Tablespoon – 15ml
Imperial to Metric Measurement:
1 oz – 28g
1 lb – 16 oz – 454g
1 gill – ¼ pint – 142ml
2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge