Gazpacho is my favorite Summer soup, and I had the pleasure of making some over the weekend to celebrate the warm weather in San Francisco with friends. After all, it’s only October and tomatoes are in season all month long. If you’ve never made gazpacho before, this simple recipe is a wonderful introduction to the flavors of Spain — and the perfect accompaniment to the last days of Summer in California.
I enjoyed my first gazpacho many years ago in Madrid as I explored the city in search of Flamenco music and tapas. Walking the streets of Madrid, I was amazed at how much the city reminded me of Lima, but the music and flavors were very new. I learned the classic recipe for gazpacho from watching Pedro Almodovar’s film Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown, but the recipe here is inspired by one from Teresa Barrenechea’s The Cuisines of Spain.
My goal was simple — make a flavorful soup with as few ingredients as possible. But I also experimented with the technique and used an immersion blender to pureé the tomatoes and to emulsify the olive oil, a few drops at a time, to achieve a very smooth consistency. And since I can never get enough bread, I made some croutons to serve on top of the soup. The hardest part of course was waiting a few hours while the soup chilled before enjoying that first cool, colorful, and creamy sip.
- 6 tomatoes on the vine
- 3 cloves of garlic, 2 for the soup, 1 for the croutons
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 loaf of country bread
- 1 cup cold water to soak the bread
- parsley for garnish
In addition to the ingredients above, you’ll need a bowl and an immersion blender for the soup and a skillet for the croutons.
- Remove tomatoes from the vine and cut into chunks. Mince the garlic, and measure the olive oil and vinegar. Slice 3 pieces of the country bread, cut into small pieces, and soak in cold water for a few minutes.
- Combine the tomatoes, 2 minced cloves of garlic, vinegar, and soaked bread in a bowl. Purée using an immersion blender.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Add olive oil a few drops at a time while using the immersion blender.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate until chilled, at least a couple of hours.
- To make the croutons, slice another piece of bread, cut into small squares, and toast with 1 clove of minced garlic and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Serve soup in individual bowls and garnish with croutons and minced parsley.
This is a great soup to share with vegetarian friends, but for my pescatarian friends, I usually add a little sauteéd seafood as garnish for added flavor and protein.