Cold Soup Perfect for a Hot Day — Gazpacho!

Today I am sharing my recipe for gazpacho Spanish soup. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new recipe here.  For the past several months, we have been in the throws of selling our house and moving.  I have moved many times in my life (25 including this past one), and can tell you, moving is a very disruptive process.  This move in particular has been the most disruptive I have done and it unsettled the rhythms of our lives.

The Big Move

This blog is not meant to be my daily diary.  As big things happen, you may find me discussing them and providing insight into my world.  For those that don’t care for that part of the blog, feel free to jump to the recipe below. For the rest of you, I will get to the recipe for gazpacho Spanish soup, and I promise there is a tie in with my narrative.

The Elegant Baker and I share between us four young adults that are emerging into the world on their own.  We are a ‘blended family. For the last ten-ish years, we have lived in a very large home that had room for all the kids to grow.  But the youngest one left for college a year ago this time. We no longer needed the ginormous house — time to downsized. 

Fast forward to this spring.  With a different realtor, we put the house on the market again, and “sold” it again.  Unlike last year, we actually closed the deal. There were many anxious moments – “Will the home inspection go well?” (it did)  “Will the appraisal be good?“ (it was) Will they get a mortgage?” (they did). About a month ago, we closed, and moved into a new condo.  We are still in the Boston area, but about 30 minutes from where we were before.  

New mezze & tapas World Headquarters

Our new home is much smaller,which is what we want.  But that has increased the “disruptive factor” of this move .   We spent weeks purging and shedding stuff we no longer needed to get our house ready to show.  Once we had an agreement, we spent more time eliminating stuff and packing. Fortunately, most of the “stuff” we shed we were able to either sell or donate. Very little went to the curb.

Even with all our downsizing of “stuff” we still feel like we moved with a lot. We’ve spent the past few weeks unpacking and setting up our new home.  It’s taken a while, and there is still more to do. But we are back at a place finally where the disruption is no longer all consuming.  So what does this have to do with gazpacho Spanish soup?

A nice part of moving is discovering our new town and we’ve begun to explore.  One of our first stops was the local Farmers’ Market. Visiting for the first time in late summer is perfect here in New England.  It seems like everything is a peak season — but nothing ‘peaker’ than the tomatoes. I grabbed some tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. I am intent on making my favorite summer treat — gazpacho Spanish soup.

Fresh ingredients for gazpacho Spanish soup

Gazpacho!

Gazpacho Spanish soup is a soup traditionally served chilled. Originating in Andalusia, it is made from fresh vegetables and served cold.  It is refreshing on one of those blistering hot late summer days, cooling and satisfying at the same time.   Thanks to modern grocery stores, you can make gazpacho year round. But it is at its most outstanding when using garden fresh veggies at the peak of the season.  My new Farmers’ Market was the perfect source for my soon to be gazpacho!

For me, there are two keys to making great gazpacho.  The first is the freshest vegetable you can get. The second is to use the best sherry vinegar you can get your hands on.

Fresh vegetable are easy to find in the peak of harvest season.  Back yard gardens and local farm stands will all be teeming with the key ingredients. Find tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers from late July to early September.  This is the perfect time for Gazpacho. Go find large, juicy tomatoes, big sweet peppers and fresh cucumbers. Just be sure that the cucumber isn’t bitter or it will throw the whole soup off.  

Use a good sherry vinegar

The sweet acidic kick that a good sherry vinegar brings to gazpacho will brighten up the flavor, and take it from merely good to great.  I have tried several sherry vinegars, but the one I use is made by “O Olive Oils”. The “O” sherry vinegar originates in California, but I find it offers the best balance of cost and quality.

Sherry vinegar is important for gazpacho Spanish soup

I always have a bottle on hand in my cupboard because I use it in a variety of places as a finishing touch, and it works well in the recipe below.  I can find it at my local Whole Foods, and it is available of course on Amazon.  

Some of the thickening power in the gazpacho comes from a piece of bread that is included.  I try to use a nice, crusty artisanal bread, but that isn’t always necessary. Other choices are a piece of a good French or Italian loaf, but today, I used a hot dog roll left over from another meal.  The key is that it isn’t completely stale, but it doesn’t have to be super fresh.   

Of course there are traditional methods for preparing the vegetables. Long before the advent of the food processor, people enjoyed Gazpacho. we have access to the food processor, so I toss all my ingredients in the food processor, and let it do the hard work. You want to process the gazpacho until there are no recognizable chunks of any veggies left, but there is still a thick, creamy consistency.  You do not want to get too watery.

Fresh gazpacho Spanish soup ready for chilling

Store it

Once your gazpacho is done in the food processor, transfer to a mason jar or large bowl and put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour to chill.  It will keep for up to a week — but I bet after you try it, that it will not last that long. 

The refreshing goodness of a good gazpacho really is a late summer treat and should not be missed!  The Farmers’s Market in our new town was the perfect starting place for our first gazpacho in the new home!


Gazpacho

A traditional Spanish soup of fresh vegetables, and highlighted by sherry vinegar.  Served chilled, it is the perfect antidote for a hot summer day!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Chill1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Spanish
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 piece bread about 4 – 6 inches long
  • 2 lbs fresh ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 6 – 8 pieces each
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and cut into several large chunks
  • 1 large red bell pepper seeded and cut into 6 – 8 pieces
  • 1 cucumber about 6 – 8 inches long, completely peeled and cut into 6 – 8 pieces
  • ½ large onion cut into 6 – 8 wedges
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp sweet smoked paprika optional
  • kosher salt to taste
  • approx 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 – 3 tbsp sherry vinegar to taste

Instructions

  • In a small bowl of water, soak the bread until it is completely wet. Remove the bread from the water, and squeeze out all the water you can.
  • Add the bread, tomatoes, garlic, pepper, cucumber, onion, cumin and paprika to the work bowl of a food processor or blender.
  • Run the food processor or blender on the highest speed to chop and combine all the ingredients.
  • Process until there are no visible chunks of any vegetable
  • With the processor/blender running, slowly stream in the olive oil until you get the desired consistency
  • Add about half of the sherry vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and run the processor/blender briefly to combine.
  • Taste the gazpacho, and add more sherry vinegar, salt and pepper to achieve the taste you like
  • Place gazpacho in a mason jar or bowl and put in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.
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