The tomato-based gazpacho is probably one of Spain’s most well-known dishes abroad – a delicious cold liquid salad made with raw vegetables, and wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer’s day. Indeed, its fresh nutritious ingredients are enough to provide a complete meal in themselves: gazpacho was originally a poor man’s food, and has provided daily sustenance for day labourers, in one form or another, for centuries.

Gazpacho Andaluz – Photo

The most famous version of the numerous variations on the basic ingredients of bread, water, olive oil, garlic, salt and vinegar or lemon is Gazpacho Andaluz, which came into being with the discovery of the New World, when tomatoes and peppers were first brought to Spain. The ingredients were originally chopped up finely and pounded together by hand. Today, except for the most traditional of Spanish cooks, it’s prepared in the following way:

Soak four slices of stale white bread in water to cover. While the bread is soaking, blend four large ripe tomatoes – roughly chopped – together with ½ a small cucumber (peeled and chopped), 2 small green peppers (seeded, cut into strips, then chopped), ½ onion roughly chopped, and 2 sliced cloves of garlic.

You may now either add the remaining ingredients or blend them separately (another option is to omit the bread and combine all the ingredients together): blend the gently squeezed out bread until it purées, then add about 70ml of olive oil –extra virgin is best – slowly added in a thin stream while the blender is running.
Add a pinch of salt and ground cumin, plus vinegar or lemon juice to taste. Ladle some of the tomato mixture back into the blender (if you kept it separate), continuing to combine the two mixtures until they are completely incorporated.

Stir in around a quarter of a litre of water, and test for seasoning. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve for a smoother gazpacho if you wish. More water may be added at this stage if necessary.

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Chill and serve, either as a drink, or in bowls garnished with chopped peppers, tomatoes and onions.


Porrra Antequerana – Photo

Other variations of this type of gazpacho include Salmorejo, a much thicker version originating in Córdoba which includes more bread and omits the peppers, onion and cucumber; and Porra Antequerana, which includes peppers and is garnished with cured ham and chopped boiled egg.

Ajo Blanco

The king of the family of gazpachos has to be ajo blanco, an exquisite soup which is also served chilled. It is simple to make, with few ingredients, but with a sensationally rich flavour.
The dish is so rich and filling that a little restraint must be advised!


Ajo Blanco – Photo

The garnish in this case is fruit: usually grapes, with chopped melon or apple as regional variations.

Bread is again soaked in water to cover, then gently squeezed out. Blend with 50-100g of peeled almonds, 2 cloves of garlic, and salt to taste. Add around 150 ml of olive oil in a slow stream with the blender still running, followed by vinegar to taste. It should now have the consistency of a thick mayonnaise.

Add water to thin and chill, after checking for seasoning. Serve with a garnish of chopped fruit.

Variations of ajo blanco include replacing the almonds with pine nuts (previously soaked for 24 hours and drained), and adding a raw egg to make a mayonnaise. Lemon juice may take the place of the vinegar, and cucumber may be added.

And finally for the most basic version of all the gazpachos and no less delicious for that: a cold soup made from simply bread, egg, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt, with water to thin.

Artmotion Spain

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