On swelteringly hot summer days when you don't feel like cooking or even eating, this Refreshing Summer Gazpacho is just the thing to cool you down.
Where did gazpacho originate?
It is commonly held that gazpacho has Spanish origins, but it has also been documented that Roman soldiers carried bread, olive oil, and vinegar with them to add to any vegetables they came across. Popularized by farm workers in the Andalusian region of Spain, it was a welcome, refreshing meal in the middle of a hot day in the fields! It is also believed that the soup we enjoy with tomatoes today evolved after Christopher Columbus brought tomatoes and peppers back to Spain.
The original gazpachos certainly had bread and I believe it is still traditional to make it that way. However, I like it just fine without and I don't have to worry about allergies or dietary sensitivities. A good crusty crouton is not a bad idea, though!
Quality ingredients are a must!
The quality of the vegetables is paramount in this soup because everything is raw. Which also means that it simply must be made in the summer when all of these vegetables are in season!
- The tomatoes really should be the best home-grown or farmers market quality. They are the star of this soup!
- Be sure to use red bell peppers instead of green to avoid muddying the color.
- Also ... the vinegar MUST be sherry vinegar! This is a Spanish soup, after all, and sherry is Spanish.
- The olive oil should be delicious, too. In this soup, a Spanish olive oil would be absolutely authentic, but an Italian or Californian would be fine, too.
Should gazpacho be smooth or chunky?
I would suggest that the early renditions of Gazpacho were chunky since they were made by hand. Those Roman soldiers or field workers surely didn't have a Vitamix! However, it is commonly blended to a fine puree these days and the fact remains that you can make it however you want to! It's totally up to your preference.
Can gazpacho be made with other fruits or vegetables?
The short answer is "Yes". The longer response is: Just because you blend fruits and vegetables up and serve them cold does not mean that you have created a gazpacho! It means you've created a cold soup. However, many use the terms "gazpacho" and "cold soup" interchangeably.
How to serve
Serve it with some chopped vegetable garnishes, griddled bread or croutons, hard-boiled egg, Serrano ham, crab meat, or shrimp. The garnishing slate is nice and clean for you!
Other recipes you might like:
Refreshing Summer Gazpacho
- 2 pounds tomatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 medium cucumber
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- salt to season
- Cut all of the vegetables in chunks, saving back a small amount to chop as garnish.
- Put the chunks of vegetables in the blender and blend till it is very smooth. Add the sherry vinegar, olive oil, and a generous bit of salt. Blend till well incorporated.
- Serve immediately with chopped vegetables garnishing the center of the bowl. Some crusty bread along side is heavenly.