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Gazpacho Recipe

Updated on August 4, 2012

A Great Summer Soup

4 stars from 4 ratings of Gazpacho

Quenches a Summer Thirst

The Roman legions stationed in Iberia were fond of a soup that helped them stay on their feet in the hot, arid summers. Every legionnaire was issued a ration of a pound of bread each day, and if he had some left over and stale the next he would mash it along with olive oil, garlic, salt and vinegar to make a refreshing bowl of energy food.

The Romans went home when the Germanic tribes overran the western empire, but the Iberians, who later became the Spaniards and Portuguese, had by then adopted and adapted some of their ways. In Andalusia, one of those was that dish. They added summer vegetables to it, and after their conquest of the New World tomatoes, to make what is now called gazpacho, a liquid salad known the world over. It is famous as thirst quenching, refreshing, nourishing, replenishing as vitamins, minerals, calories and enzymes leach from you on a hot summer day. It can be served in bowls, or if made thinner mugs or glasses. Every sidewalk cafe in Andalusia offers it so you can stop at an open air table for a few minutes, renew your vigor, and go on about your business. Everyone has his own version. There are red ones, white ones, green ones, thick ones, thin ones, spicy ones, mild ones. Gazpacho is a great dish for experimentation. The only rules are to use fresh, ripe ingredients, and to use what you have that is local and in season.

In this weather, it's a good thing to have in the refrigerator here in America, too. Here is an old Andalusian recipe for it, a traditional and basic one built directly on the ancient Roman dish.

I made this one to have as a summer soup. You can thin it out enough to put it in a mug, carry it out onto the deck, and drink it to restore your electrolytes. You can even make it thinner yet, put it in a bottle, and take it to work with you for a great break snack or dieter's lunch.

Good garnishes are diced tomato, croutons, slices of cucumber, plain yoghurt, chopped bell pepper (which some people put into their gazpacho when they're making it), or for something special as shown below a few basil leaves just picked from your kitchen garden.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: Six servings, more if you're not hungry

Ready to rock

The processor loaded
The processor loaded | Source

Ingredients

  • ½ pound stale bread, Herb bread is great here
  • 2 Nice, ripe garden tomatoes
  • 1 medium cucumber, English cukes are best, I think
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
  • 1 pinch cumin (if you want it)
  • 1½ cups cool water
  • 1 medium Spanish onion
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbl red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp good salt, "Good" means no additives

Ready to eat

Ah, relief in a bowl!
Ah, relief in a bowl! | Source

How to make it

  1. Tear your stale bread into chunks and soak it in water for ten minutes. Add just enough water to do the job. Too much will make a thin soup. Best to do that to it later if you want it that way.
  2. While the bread is soaking up the water, coarsely cut up the cucumber, tomatoes and onion. Peel the garlic. I just hit it with the flat of the knife, but you can chop it up if you like. Add all the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Put everything into your handy dandy food processor and let 'er rip. Pulse it until it's as smooth as you want it to be. I like some texture in it myself, but your mileage may vary. It's your gazpacho, so do it as you like.
  4. Taste it and correct the seasoning. Add water if you want it thinner. You're done! Put it in something refrigeratable and you've got the summer heat beat.

Comments

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    • Attikos profile imageAUTHOR

      Attikos 

      5 years ago from East Cackalacky

      The history of food is fascinating. To understand a particular dish such as gazpacho, there is no substitute for learning its origins. Once you know that, you can apply it in your own place and time to make your own version, and that's the best anyone can hope to do.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Sounds good. I especially like the history lesson beforehand. :) Very interesting.

    • Attikos profile imageAUTHOR

      Attikos 

      5 years ago from East Cackalacky

      A pleasure, Wabash Annie. I enjoyed writing this one. Let us know how yours comes out.

    • wabash annie profile image

      wabash annie 

      5 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      This soups sounds delicious. I'll try it this summer when the farmers' markets are up and running. Thanks much ... Wabash Annie

    • Attikos profile imageAUTHOR

      Attikos 

      5 years ago from East Cackalacky

      Gazpacho is nothing if not versatile, NM Lady. Thanks for your interest.

    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 

      5 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      One of my most favorite soups....... I play around with the ingredients all the time. It depends on what I have either in my garden or found great at the Farm Market. I usually do not use bread AND I usually use a touch of my beloved NM green chiles (mild) for flavor addition.

    • Attikos profile imageAUTHOR

      Attikos 

      6 years ago from East Cackalacky

      I'd like nothing better than to say it's original, but the fact is quite a few people put in cumin, alocsin. The Roman legionnaires would have. It was a standard digestive and wormer of the time, helping them overcome the usual effects of a soldier's poor and frequently infested fare. I feel it adds depth to the flavor, so I often do.

      Thanks for you comments.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Sounds delicious. Is cumin a typical addition to the soup, or is that an intriguing variation that you added? Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • profile image

      calculus-geometry 

      6 years ago

      That's a good simple recipe and I love raw vegetables. I like to put a little turmeric in yellow/orange/red foods to make the color brighter.

    • Attikos profile imageAUTHOR

      Attikos 

      6 years ago from East Cackalacky

      They weren't all about drunken orgies and killing everyone who got in their way. Well, maybe the latter, but they did some interesting things, culinarily speaking. We don't know a great deal about their recipes, but we do know enough of the basics, and enough about the ingredients they had available, to recreate versions of them.

      I think one of the best ways to reach the heart of an old dish is to look into its history. Discovering its origins gives you a good footing from which to make modern incarnations of it using what you have, which is how our forebears did it. They didn't get their food from supermarkets stacked with things from all around the world, they grew and caught them, or bought them from someone nearby who did.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, BJ.

    • profile image

      BJ 

      6 years ago

      Hey, the Romans were doing the raw food diet thing before it became a craze today. Who knew?

    • Attikos profile imageAUTHOR

      Attikos 

      6 years ago from East Cackalacky

      I don't really use recipes, Letitialicious. It's more a matter of using whatever I can find that day that's fresh, good and cheap. The object, I think, is to get a good view of a dish's outline in your head, then put it together ad hoc. Nothing is ever quite the same one time to another when you do it that way, but it's at least interesting!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Come again.

    • Letitialicious profile image

      Letitialicious 

      6 years ago from Paris via San Diego

      What an interesting history. I've been looking for a good gazpacho recipe since I just bought a food processor. I'll try yours!

    • Attikos profile imageAUTHOR

      Attikos 

      6 years ago from East Cackalacky

      Thank you, Peggy W. It's fun to make just using whatever is right out of a local garden, isn't it? I think that's what it's all about.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have also shared a gazpacho soup recipe on HP and it is different from yours...but as you say...this is one soup that can be made in many different ways. Enjoyed reading about the history of Gazpacho. I gave this a 5 star rating as well as up, useful and interesting votes. Gazpacho is a healthy, quick and easy soup to make...and so tasty!

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