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Gazpacho Andaluz

I'm just back from a week in Seville trawling the tapas bars for inspiration for our next pop-up event. Well, the temperature was up to 38oC so I had to go where the air conditioning was! I've been going to Spain since I was at school, when I was 13 my family inherited a sprawling house in Andalucía so I choose Spanish as an 'O' level subject then studied Spanish & French at University so my love affair with the language, the food, the people and the country goes deep!

I have fond memories of slurping gazpacho from terracotta bowls for lunch in Madrid (where I did a school exchange). My friend's mother would add some ice cubes in August when it was really hot. My friend later gave me these bowls and I still use them now. 

If you make a large quantity, it freezes very well. Don't forget to garnish this soup with its ingredients, which you have reserved. Chop them finely to add just at the last minute with a good slug of extra virgin olive oil and an ice cube, if it's a really hot day!

Ingredients (Makes enough for 6-8 people)

1.25 kg ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled 
2 green peppers, deseeded
1 small white onion
1 garlic clove
red wine vinegar and Sherry vinegar (just a splash to taste)
olive oil
salt and pepper

Chop all the veg roughly and blend with all the other ingredients. red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Blend thoroughly until puréed. Pass through a sieve and season to taste. I like to put some bread in gazpacho, as long as it's really good bread with some substance to it, and best if it's a day or so old. It's optional of course but I find it gives gazpacho a silkiness that is really pleasant in the mouth. The outcome depends entirely on the ripeness and quality of the tomatoes. Absolutely do not bother to make gazpacho with tasteless, unripe tomatoes. It's really common in Spain when shopping to ask for "tomates para gazpacho" and the seller will know to give you the best ripe ones. Alas, we are not in Spain but good tomatoes are not too hard to find here in the summer. Garnish with finely diced cucumber, red pepper and a slug of good extra virgin olive oil. Black olive croutons make another delicious optional garnish if you want to impress your guests. Just whizz a few black olives with olive oil and rub into the croutons before you bake them, watch out for them though, as it can be tricky to tell when they're done. They look black and dramatic against the gazpacho. 

White Wine match: Txakoli - a savoury style with a citrussy edge from the Basque country; also great with charcuterie and olives.

Red Wine Match: Bioca - a light style red made from the Mencia grape. Delicious with ripe cherry notes, serve chilled.

I hope you can make it to my Spanish tapas popup at Spike Island in Bristol and check out Tara's Food Club