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Creamy Gazpacho Andaluz


Summer tomatoes to good to cook call out for a gazpacho…especially this one made with fresh vegetables and puréed with a secret ingredient for creaminess.  Drizzled with a touch of sherry wine and olive oil…it lives up to the promise of being fresh, rich and satisfying.

Following the recipe, roughly chop the vegetables and salt them helping to bring out their moisture.

While the vegetables are getting to know each other, dice the remaining veggies into a brunoise…or small uniform cubes.

Salt these as well, mix together and then set in a colander over a bowl to allow the excess liquid to drain.

Don’t you dare throw out that liquid…now to use the secret ingredient…white bread.  Tear the white bread into chunks and let it soak up all of the vegetable sweat.

Toss the soaked bread in with the roughly chopped vegetables…mix it around…and now it is time to blend.

Use your blender to puree the mixture…make sure that you have as smooth a consistency as possible.  Most likely, you will need to do this in 2 or more batches.

The color is gorgeous and it smells amazing.  While the blender is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil which will begin to emulsify the mixture.

Transfer the mixture to a fine mesh strainer to remove the solids by pressing the mixture with a spatula or back of a ladle.

Add the sherry vinegar, minced herbs, season with salt and pepper and add in half of the small diced vegetables.

This is a soup that gets better the longer it sits…all the ingredients and flavors need a chance to marry and connect.  Overnight in the fridge is best, but a couple of hours will do.  Remember to salt and pepper the soup again when it is chilled to make sure the seasoning is correct.  The temperature of the food can greatly affect the seasoning.

If I were serving this in a restaurant, I would bring a bowl to the table with a small pile of diced veggies in the center and a small pitcher full of the soup, and a side plate of the various accoutrements.

Lade the soup around the vegetables.

Finish the soup with a drizzle of Spanish olive oil, and a few drops of sherry vinegar.

Voilá!

Serves 4 to 6.  From Cook’s Illustrated.

For ideal flavor, allow the gazpacho to sit in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Red wine vinegar can be substituted for the sherry vinegar. Although we prefer to use kosher salt in this soup, half the amount of table salt can be used. Serve the soup with additional extra-virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, ground black pepper, and diced vegetables for diners to season and garnish their own bowls as desired.

Ingredients

3 pounds (about 6 medium) ripe tomatoes , cored
1 small cucumber , peeled, halved, and seeded
1 medium green bell pepper , halved, cored and seeded
1 small red onion , peeled and halved
2 medium garlic cloves , peeled and quartered
1 small serrano chile , stemmed and halved lengthwise
Kosher salt (see note)
1 slice high-quality white sandwich bread, crust removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar , plus extra for serving (see note)
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley , chives, or basil leaves
Ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop 2 pounds of tomatoes, half of cucumber, half of bell pepper, and half of onion and place in large bowl. Add garlic, chile, and 1½ teaspoons salt; toss until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Cut remaining tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper into ¼-inch dice; place vegetables in medium bowl. Mince remaining onion and add to diced vegetables. Toss with ½ teaspoon salt and transfer to fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Set aside 1 hour.
  3. Transfer drained diced vegetables to medium bowl and set aside. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid (there should be about ¼ cup) and soak 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid to roughly chopped vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.
  4. Transfer half of vegetable-bread mixture to blender and process 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup oil and continue to blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain soup through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, using back of ladle or rubber spatula to press soup through strainer. Repeat with remaining vegetable-bread mixture and 1/4 cup olive oil.
  5. Stir vinegar, minced herb, and half of diced vegetables into soup and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours to chill completely and develop flavors. Serve, passing remaining diced vegetables, olive oil, sherry vinegar, and black pepper separately.
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One Comment Post a comment
  1. hey, great blog! love it 🙂

    November 7, 2011

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