Gazpacho is, by far, one of my most favorite Spanish foods. In high school, I was groomed to love gazpacho by Mercedes, a (Spanish) family friend, and by my parents, who absolutely LOVE vegetables. When I studied abroad in Spain, I couldn’t get enough of it. If you don’t know already, some Spaniards are VERY serious about seasonality of certain dishes, and gazpacho is one of them. Like ensaladilla rusa (Russian salad), you had better not serve gazpacho when it’s cold out, or you’ll bear the wrath of many a señora – our host mother included. It’s a dish that fresh and bright – the rojo is a tomato-based cold soup that is studded with confetti bits of vibrant fresh vegetables. Here’s how I make it:
Kat’s Gazpacho rojo
- 1 organic bell pepper, roughly chopped – I usually use red
- 1 1/4 cup cucumber, roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 handful of fresh cilantro
- 1 28oz can of peeled whole tomatoes, juices and all
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vinagre de jerez (sherry vinegar)
- 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt – I use sea salt that Natty and I picked up in Ses Salines in Ibiza
- 8-10 turns of fresh pepper
- 20 turns of Toque especial ibérico – a spice grinder that includes smoky paprika, onion, rosemary, garlic, thyme, parsley and black pepper – you could make your own mix for this, but I would NOT recommend using fresh rosemary or thyme in place of this
- 1/2 cup cucumber, finely diced
- In a large bowl or plastic storage container, combine all ingredients except for the diced cucumber.
- Using a stick blender, blend until smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Note — The seasoning will mellow out a bit as it chills, so when you taste it here at room temp, it should be slightly more salty than you prefer.
- Stir in the diced cucumber.
- Chill for at least 2 hours.
- Enjoy with crusty bread, perhaps a slice of Gérard’s bread (pictured) if you are in Vermont, or if you are in Madrid, a slice of pan de levadura madre from Cosmen y Keiless, where I interned in 2008 while studying abroad.