What is Gazpacho?
Gazpacho or otherwise known as Andalusian gazpacho is a cold soup that uses stale bread, garlic, olives, oil, and raw fruit or vegetables.
It gained popularity in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.
Today you can find this Spanish food all over the Iberian Peninsula. Some areas of Spain will serve hot food during the fall and winter.
The main variety involves the use of tomatoes.
But some recipes call for more modern ingredients that are used in this dish.
Some of these ingredients include avocado, parsley, fruits such as cantaloupe, and different types of meat broth.
The history of the gazpacho
The origin of its name remains a mystery after thousands of years. Some say that the name derives from the word Caspa, which in Latin means pieces of, referring to the pieces of bread that are mixed with the famous soup.
Gazpacho has an amazing history behind the creation of the famous dish. Originally from the Roman Empire, soldiers brought pieces of stale bread, garlic and olive oil with them on their travels.
They then took the ingredients and ground them into a paste with a makeshift mortar so they could quickly turn them into a soup.
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The Moors of ancient Morocco made a similar soup made from almonds, called Ajo Blanco, which contributed to the origin of gazpacho.
Legend has it that Gazpacho had some influences from the Moors of North Africa and the ancient Greeks.
The dish became popular in the Andalusia region of Spain. They started producing more varieties by adding fresh vegetables to the original recipe.
In addition to Andalusian gazpacho, different varieties use many different fresh ingredients.
These are popular throughout Spain, Portugal and Morocco.
The original recipe was different from today’s varieties. This is because the original did not include tomatoes until the Spaniards discovered the New World.
Modern cooks replace the staple foods like bread and tomatoes that you can find in the original recipe with ingredients like avocado.
Types of Gazpacho
Below are the different types to help you find a variety of gazpacho to enjoy.
Arjamolho – Portuguese variety of gazpacho served with grilled sardines.
Ajo Blanco – The recipe is made with garlic, bread, almonds, vinegar, olive oil and grapes. It is originally from Morocco.
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Salmorejo – Tomatoes, bread, olive oil and garlic are used. Cover the soup with hard-boiled eggs or Iberian ham.
Arranque Roteño – Similar to Salmorejo, but denser.
Cojondongo – It is a very thick soup, although most people would call it a salad. Cojodongo is made with garlic, parsley, tomatoes and green peppers.
Gazpacho Manchego – Popular in southwestern and central Spain, it is a meat stew and is served hot. Recipes include using game such as rabbit or poultry, then adding mushrooms, garlic, pita and tomatoes.
- 1 kg of tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into pieces
- 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 slices of homemade bread, cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons of thinly sliced basil
Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, garlic, vinegar, and water in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Stir until you get a homogeneous mixture, then add the oil and stir to mix.
Taste and season with salt, pepper and more vinegar if necessary.
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Cover and refrigerate until cool.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the bread and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp.
Remove from the heat, season with salt and leave to cool.
To serve, pour the soup into bowls and season with basil, croutons and a drizzle of oil.
Gazpacho with avocado
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 red pepper
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of parsley or coriander leaves
- 1 tablespoon of lime juice
- 1 small, ripe but firm avocado
Peel the peppers and tomatoes and cut them into small pieces. Add them to the blender and blend until you get a puree. Pour into a bowl.
Refrigerate until cooled, 2 hours. Rinse the blender and add the vinegar, oil, salt, cilantro and lime juice. Mix well. To serve, pour the gazpacho into 4 glasses.
Pour 1 tablespoon of the vinegar mixture over each. Dice the avocado, then spread it over the soup. Serve it immediately.
Gazpacho of watermelon
- 2 large slices of seedless red watermelon, diced
- 1 cucumber, diced, reserve half
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced, keep half
- 1 small red pepper, diced, set half aside
- 3 finely chopped green onions, set half aside
- 1 clove of garlic
- a handful of basil
- 3-4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 or 2 teaspoons of sea salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- ½ jalapeño pepper, optional
- diced avocado, optional
Set aside the reserved half of the cucumber, the chopped tomatoes, red pepper and green onion and put the remaining half in a blender.
Add the melon, garlic, basil, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and jalapeno pepper, if using. Mix until smooth. Taste and adjust the toppings.
Pour into a large bowl (or small individual jars as shown in the photo) and add the chopped vegetables set aside.
Leave to cool for 3-4 hours or overnight. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with diced avocado before serving.
Gazpacho with corn
- 1 kg of yellow tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 2 yellow peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 3 cobs of boiled corn
- 1 white onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- Optional: ¼ jalapeño pepper, seedless, for texture, not spiciness
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 100 ml of olive oil
- 40 ml of sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
- Sea salt, to taste
Olive oil, coriander, corn and freshly ground pepper, for serving
Combine yellow tomatoes, peppers, corn, onion, garlic, and jalapeno in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and mix well with your hands.
Set the bowl aside on the counter for half an hour. (Can be left for up to 4 hours if needed).
Working in batches, blend the soup together with the olive oil in the food processor.
Add the sherry vinegar and lime juice, then season with sea salt to taste. This soup can be made up to 3 days in advance. Keep it covered in the fridge until ready to serve
Photo source: 123rf.com
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