When, in 1972, I moved from the mill house, which had no electricity, to my new house, the first thing I bought was an electric blender, to make modern-day gazpacho in minutes. It was a handheld blender, which came with a strainer that fit inside the larger container. For gazpacho, I would put chunks of tomatoes into the strainer without skinning them or removing seeds. When I puréed the mixture, the juice and pulp were strained through, while seeds and skin stayed in the strainer. Brilliant design. Twenty-five years —and many gazpachos, baby-food purées, and mayonnaises—later, my blender finally gave out. I made gazpacho in a food processor for a season, but decided it was just not as good as gazpacho made in that blender, so I bought another one just like it..
The main thing in choosing the right blender for gazpacho is watts—150 watts is not enough; 300 is good. With 300 watts and a sharp blade, you don't even need to skin the tomatoes. The seeds, though, should be removed either before processing or else after, by passing the gazpacho through a sieve. To seed tomatoes, cut out the stem and core, then cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Either spoon out the seeds or else squeeze the tomatoes into a sieve placed over a bowl. The seeds will squeeze out; the juice will collect in the bowl and you can add it to the gazpacho..
Green pepper, cucumber, and onion are optional ingredients in the gazpacho purée. I make it without these vegetables, then add them afterwards as garnish..
In Andalusia, gazpacho is often much paler and "creamier" than this version. If you would like to try it that way, use 6 slices of bread and 1/2 cup oil for the same amount of tomatoes.
4 ounces (4 slices) stale bread, crusts removed
2 garlic cloves
2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 5), seeded
2-inch square piece of green bell pepper (optional)
2-inch chunk peeled cucumber (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup olive oil, preferably extra virgin
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper (optional)
1/3 cup chopped onion (optional)
1/3 cup peeled, chopped cucumber (optional)
1/2 cup croutons or diced bread, toasted crisp (optional)
Break bread into big chunks and soak it in water to cover until it is softened, about 15 minutes. Squeeze out the water and place the bread in a blender (or, if you are using a handheld blender, into a mixing bowl) with the garlic. Blend until the bread and garlic are smooth.
Add the tomatoes (it may be necessary to process the tomatoes in two batches) and the pieces of pepper and cucumber, if using, and purée. Add the cumin and salt. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream. As the oil is incorporated, the gazpacho will turn from tomato-juice red to a paler, orange color. Blend in the vinegar and 1/2 cup water.
Place the gazpacho into a tureen, bowl, or pitcher and stir in 1 cup cold water. Chill until serving time.
Place each of the garnishes—chopped peppers, onion, cucumber, and crouton—in small bowls or on a relish dish and pass them when the gazpacho is served. This gazpacho also can be served, thinned with additional water, in tall glasses for sipping, without the garnishes.
My Kitchen in Spain
225 Authentic Regional Recipes
by Janet Mendel
Hardcover, 368 pages
$34.95; $52.95 (CAN)
Recipe reprinted by permission.
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This page created October 2002
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