So, now we come to the Gazpacho most people are familiar with – the iced tomato and vegetable soup famed the world over (well, almost!).
It is served both as a soup here and as a drink. In most homes it comes in a glass. In fact there is a wonderful advert for my favourite Spanish beer, Cruzcampo, which celebrates all things Andalúz. One line in the voice over says something along the lines of “In Andalucía we don´t eat tomatoes, we drink them!” (If you have time to watch it, it´s worth it, even if you don´t understand Spanish, just to see a few snippets of summer life in Andalucía).
Every housewife will give you a slightly different recipe, adding her own little tweaks (more of this, less of that). Some use stale bread, some don´t. I tend not to unless I want to serve it a little thicker as a soup which can then be garnished with little chopped cubes of the same vegetables that go into it.
So, without further ado, here´s how I make mine.
Peeled Tomatoes, Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Onion (optional) Peeled Cucumber, Salt, Water, Olive Oil, White Wine Vinegar.
It´s difficult to give quantities. If my tomatoes are lovely and red, I use less red pepper. Sometimes I don´t use onion. But the green pepper and the cucumber do give it that distinctive fresh taste, so try not to leave them out.
Today I used 4 large plum tomatoes, one thin green pepper, a small amount of red pepper and a small chunk of onion and half a small peeled Spanish cucumber.
Put all the vegetables into a jug or the food processor.
Start with one level teaspoon of salt, 3 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and about half a litre of water.
Now it´s time to start blending. Add more seasoning, vinegar and water as you go along if you want to. Today I added another tablespoon of vinegar (you remember they like it “alegre” or lively here right?!) and about another 250ml of water to thin it a little.
Then chill until you need it. If you have put onion in it´s fine on the day you made it but I find it starts to “ferment” a little if you have any left over. Also, while standing in the fridge it may start to separate a little with the water at the bottom and the vegetables on top – just give it a stir before serving and it will be fine.
Now, go and put on a straw hat, a paso doble on the cd and lie back in a shady spot and sip on your ice cold Gazpacho. Or ga-pacho, as they tend to say here! These Andaluces and their habit of dropping the “s” sound….most confusing!