SPANISH TRADICIONAL GAZPACHO
We had such an incredible time at our recent family trip to Spain! so much beauty, culture and of course the Spanish cuisine. When we were in Barcelona, I had the opportunity to enjoy time at one of their famous Market's La Boqueria Mercat located in the Las Ramblas area. There I joined a group of foodies from around the world for a culinary class adventure through the market and into the kitchen with BCN Kitchen and Chef Leena! Chef Leena walked us through the market where showed for fresh ingredients to prepare our dishes. The first dish I want to introduce you to is Gazpacho, a typical cold soup from Andalucía in the South of the Spanish peninsula, it is a region rich in traditions with a strong cultural identity. Chef Leena says, Gazpacho has its origin there for two main reasons; the high temperatures that are often over 30oc and the fact that Andalusia is a profoundly agricultural region. In the summer, when tomatoes are ripe, peppers are juicy and the sun is scorching hot Andalusian farm workers would drink cold gazpacho to refresh themselves and to this day, the tradition of drinking gazpacho during the summer months remains! Nowadays you can find many different ways of making gazpacho, by adding cherries, strawberries, or beetroot... the possibilities are endless, you can tweak the ingredients to your taste, the freshness is guaranteed.
This recipe is the one we prepared in the kitchen topped with a few of my favourite toppings. Croutons and a fresh topping of finely chopped, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, flat leaf parsley and jalapeño if you like it piquant. You can customize yours with fresh ingredients you love to enjoy, even the addition of chopped Spanish ham or chorizo sausage!The recipe calls to strain it through a seive, save the chunky leftovers and toss it with pasta and fresh basil! Two delicious meals in one!!!
1 kg very ripe tomatoes, cut in quarters
1/2 ripe red bell pepper and 1/2 green bell pepper, deseeded and
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced (I recommend to take out
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
6-8 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (to your taste) + extra for drizzle
5 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
1/4 cup cold water
1 tsp kosher Salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Cut all the vegetables coarsely, to make the blender’s work easier. Mix them all in a big bowl and process them in batches.
Blend until smooth, then add salt, pepper, vinegar, oil and really cold water and blend again. Pass this mixture through a fine sieve, then cover and refrigerate until chilled. If you don’t have time to chill it, simply add the cold water and stir well. The best option in this case would be to add ice cubes instead of water.
Chef Leena's tip! If you can, cut and mix all the ingredients the day before, add the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and cover. Let it chill in the fridge until you plan on eating it. You’ll see that the flavour will increase and the freshness of the ingredients will be amazing! (Try not to eat this vegetable salad that you’ll have in the fridge, for me, it’s nearly impossible). This soup tastes the best when it is served cold!
A few more tips from the Chef! ;) If you’re feeling creative, try to substitute the cucumber and mix in some watermelon, cherries, strawberries or even peaches! You can also add half of a granny smith apple to the mixture, or dice it and serve as a garnish. Oh! Garnishes make the difference, so, if you are looking to impress your guests or treat yourself, you can add diced black olives, hard-boiled eggs, small pieces of any ingredient in the gazpacho
SERVINGS 4-6 | PREP & COOK TIME 30 mins + overnight for chilling.