Introduction to food culture: El Gazpacho

Neither a soup nor a drink, gazpacho is a nutritious and refreshing dish taken mainly in the South of Spain, when the heat of the scorching summer makes it difficult to eat anything else. On its own or as a starter, you won’t ever taste anything so healthy and jummy.

INGREDIENTS

  • About 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cored and roughly cut into chunks
  • 1 pepper, cored, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and roughly cut into chunks
  • 1 small mild onion (white or red), peeled and roughly cut into chunks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, more to taste
  • Salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste, plus more for drizzling
  • Optional: try adding wet bread to make it thicker to taste and a pinch of fresh mint

PREPARATION

  1. Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender or, if using a hand blender, in a deep bowl. (If necessary, work in batches.) Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
  2. With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until texture is creamy.
  3. Strain the mixture through a strainer or a food mill, pushing all the liquid through with a spatula or the back of a ladle. Discard the solids. Transfer to a large pitcher (preferably glass) and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Before serving, adjust the seasoning with salt and vinegar. If soup is very thick, stir in a few tablespoons ice water. Serve in glasses, over ice if desired. A few drops of olive oil on top are a nice touch.