Gazpacho: A Cold Cold Soup for a Hot Hot Day!
This week, Cincinnati was kinda gray. Cloudy and gloomy with busts of thunderstorms.
But this couldn't deter me from posting is cold cold soup which we had on a rather hot hot day last week.
All my favorite salad ingredients blended with my favorite juice, what could be bad about it! I knew I'll love it, even before I made it.
Gazpacho, a light, cool, refreshing soup from Spain is basically a whole bunch of raw vegetable blended with tomato juice. Often called a "Salad in a Blender", it is a summertime staple in many household. Traditionally made by pounding raw vegetables with tomatoes in mortar and pestle and left to cool in earthen pots, gazpacho has gone through many transformation to reach its current stage. Modern day convenience like blenders and food processors have made the prep work a snap and the added bonus of "no cooking" makes Gazpacho the most loved Summer Soup.
There are many variation of Gazpacho, using various herbs, spices and garnishes. I am not claiming my version is authentic, traditional or classic but it is the way we like it. Its so fresh light and tangy. We are in love with it. And its pretty filling too. Usually pieces of bread are soaked and blended in the soup. But just so that I can control the carbs I am consuming, I served the bread as a side to the soup instead of blending it right in. Also instead of regular tomato soup, I used a Spicy Hot V8 for an interesting twist of flavors.
It such an refreshing soup. I really wanted to eat it as soon as it was done. But however tempted you are stashing it in the fridge for at least four hours, works wonders for the flavors. It was good before but it was unbelievably delicious after chilling in the fridge.
And leftover the next day? Heavenly!
Try it and you'll not regret it.
Recipe Snapshot: Gazpacho Soup
Serves: 4 - 5 serving
(1 serving = 1 cup)
What I used:
Tomatoes - 3 ripe, juicy plum tomatoes (I used Roma, but a on the vine would be really good), quartered
English Cucumber - 1, peeled and cut into chunks
Red bell pepper - 2, cored and cut into chunks
Red onion - 1 medium sized, quartered
Jalapeno - 1 seeded and finely minced (I used the Thai chilies)
Garlic - 4 cloves, fined minced
Parsley - 1 cup, packed, finely chopped
Tomato Juice - 4 cups (I used a Spicy Hot V8)
Red Wine Vinegar - 2 tbsp ( Sherry vinegar is more authentic, but any vinegar will do)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 2 tbsp plus more for drizzling on individual bowls
Freshly Cracked Pepper
What I did:
1. In a food processor, pulse all the veggies (onions, bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes) separately till coarsely chopped and dump them in a big bowl. Don't pulse everything together, because all the veggies are high in water content, it can turn into a mush very easily.
2. Once the veggies are processed, dump it into a big bowl and add the minced chilies (or jalapenos) and the mined garlic and the chopped parsley.
3. Add the tomato juice, vinegar and the olive oil and pepper and mix well. Do a taste check and add salt if required. Our salt intake is pretty low and the salt from the tomato juice was enough for us.
4. Cover with a cling wrap and let it chill for at least 4 hours for the flavors to develop and mature.
5. Serve cold with a extra drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and a little chopped parsley and a side of crusty bread.
Notes/Tip: A dollop of sour cream works wonders, if you have a picky eater.
From a nutritional perspective, Gazpacho highlights the concept of synergy – the combined health benefits of its ingredients are greater than those provided by any one individual part. The tomatoes, for example, are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that is absorbed more readily in the presence of fat, which is provided by the olive oil. In addition, research suggests that consuming an assortment of antioxidants in combination may enhance their benefits. In gazpacho, besides the lycopene, vitamin C and other antioxidants in the tomatoes, you also get a hearty dose of disease-fighting phytochemicals from the bell pepper, garlic and onions.