There are certain recipes that are not to be messed with. No culinary experiments, no fanciful pimpin’. Real classics don’t need it. Instead it’s all about flavorful ingredients that shine on their own. Whenever we attempt a Spanish classic, our friend Carlos is the first reference person. He supplies us with the best Chorizo, feeds his friends the most amazing Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, serves stunning Queimada and has taught us how to make Tortilla de Betanzos together with his friend Juan.
Since he taught us his Gazpacho recipe a few weeks ago we’ve come to realize how many bland and mediocre lookalikes we’ve had before. Tasty, ripe tomatoes are a must, but well balanced seasoning is equally important. The best about this summer soup? It’s healthy, addictive, refreshing – and prepared within less than 10 minutes. But I have more: just like a good Chili con Carne or Lasagne, this soup tastes even better on the next day, when the flavors had time to sit and mingle. Give it a try, even if you’re not a soup person!
And if you’re in the mood for something more elaborate, why not freeze your Gazpacho and have a granita or sorbet? It certainly makes for a rather unusual appetizer, just be sure to add some vodka (2-3 tbsp) and strain the final mix through a fine mesh sieve (to enhance its frozen consistency) before moving it to your freezer’s compartment or ice cream machine.
Put the slices of stale white bread in a bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside. Chill serving bowls or glasses (optional).
Prepare the vegetables:
- Cut the tomatoes in quarters, stem to tail, then remove the stem ends.
- Quarter and deseed bell peppers (reserve half of the red and half of the green bell pepper for later use), then cut them into long fingerthick stripes, then smaller pieces.
- Cut about half of the small cucumber into thin slices (reserve the other half).
- Peel the onion, then cut half of it into thin slices (reserve the other half).
- Peel the garlic clove(s), then cut them into thin slices.
Prepare the tropezones: Cut the reserved bell pepper, cucumber and onion halves into neat little cubes or bitesize pieces – they will become tropezones (“stumbling stones”) in your final soup. Set aside for later use.
A large blender is the perfect tool to prepare Gazpacho (but a handheld blender can be used, too), just throw all of your prepared vegetables (tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, onion, garlic) MINUS the prepared tropezones into your blender and mix at medium speed until your vegetables have turned into juice and their blender volume has decreased significantly.
Add the bread slices (no need to squeeze out the water), season with sea salt, sugar, freshly ground black pepper, chili flakes, vinegar, olive oil and a small handful of ice cubes, before putting the blender to work again. Mix until the Gazpacho reaches a smooth consistency and you cannot hear any more crackling sounds from the added ice cubes (add more ice cubes, if you want your soup more liquid).
Season to taste (there’s nothing more boring than a flavorless seasoned Gazpacho!) and pour into chilled bowls (if you like your soup really cold, add one or two ice cubes to each bowl). Serve with a tablespoon of tropezones, drizzle with some more olive oil and a good pinch of black pepper. Enjoy immediately.
Gazpacho con Tropezones
Recipe source: our friend Carlos
Prep time: ~10 minutes
Ingredients (for 3-4 as a snack):
2 slices of stale white bread
500g ripe tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 small cucumber
1 white onion
1-2 garlic cloves
~1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 - 1 tsp sugar
freshly ground black pepper
optional: a good pinch of dried chili flakes
2-3 tbsp white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
4-5 tbsp fruity olive oil
a small handful of ice cubes
serve with some vegetable cubes ("tropezones"), an additional drizzle of olive oil and some more black pepper