It wasn’t until recently that I started looking for an actual recipe for gazpacho. Before this, my version of gazpacho involved throwing a bunch of vegetables into the blender and turning it on until it seemed soupy. Not exactly riveting blog fodder.
Despite my lackadaisical making of this chilled tomato-based Spanish soup, I’ve never had a version that I disliked. When the weather is steamy, it always hits the spot. While I searched for recipes to test over the past couple months (it’s been hot enough here to make a weekly batch of gazpacho a very good thing), I came across all sorts of stories about ways that people enjoy gazpacho that made me feel like I should be plucking tomatoes from a plant outside my window and having leisurely summer dinners on a veranda somewhere.
It’s no secret that neither of those scenarios will be happening any time soon.
Although this Bangkok life of ours is not without its own unique charms,
and may be the most fast-paced spot in the world to purchase your next broom.
When I looked at gazpacho recipes, I came across notes from people serving it in shot glasses before meals, as a starter before brunch, or as an afternoon pick-me-up. One blogger said he had a juice glass of the stuff nearly afternoon.
I have finally moved beyond (although not entirely abandoned) my practice of throwing farmers market produce into the blender at random to make gazpacho. The addition of a few ingredients and some thought put into the ratios of vegetables produces a decidedly more balanced (and tasty) variation than the throw-whatever-you-have in the blender approach. But in testing recipes, I also fell deeply under the spell of a combination that created a spicy, more textured variety that called to mind the gazpacho at José Andrés’ Jaleo. I can’t be certain how the Jaleo version is made, but the addition of a bit of bread and olive oil combine to give the soup more substance and depth. A splash of vinegar also helps enormously in the matter of bright tomato flavor. The version below is what I’ve settled on myself, but it is so very adaptable.
I top a bowl of this soup with those Pan-Fried Crispy Chickpeas with Lime (remember weeks ago when I promised you I had a great way to use them?) for a light lunch or dinner that I absolutely love.
- 1 and 1/2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, roughly chopped
- 1 half a roasted red pepper (from a jar of roasted red peppers in olive oil)
- 3 slices of bread (roughly 3 ounces), torn into pieces (baguette or sourdough are great, and bread that is a couple days old is ideal)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- pinch crushed red pepper, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For serving (any of these are great):
- sliced avocados
- sour cream or Greek yogurt
- crumbled feta cheese
- Pan-Fried Crispy Chickpeas with Lime (my favorite)
- Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, bread, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and crushed red pepper in a blender. Blend until nearly smooth. Add water if the soup seems thick. Taste and add salt and pepper, as desired.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with any of the recommendations above or set all of them out so that people can customize their bowl!