Monday, July 1, 2013

Fresh Gazpacho--One-Ingredient Delight

I love gazpacho and make it quite often during hot summer days when I can get field tomatoes that taste best. It is one of the easiest fresh soups, entirely made in a food processor. The best gazpacho I ever tasted was the original, Spanish one--very smooth, almost orange in color.

But a couple weeks ago I was at the party at our Spanish friend's place. He prepared gazpacho entirely from fresh tomatoes. And that was the best gazpacho I ever had. It seemed sparkling from the sherry vinegar, so smooth as if it was whipped, delicate, and so light that it was served in cups like a drink.

As other people already enjoyed grilled meats and there were still many goblets with gazpacho left I discreetly had three of them. And of course I asked our friend about the secret of his soup, which turned out to be that he uses only fresh tomatoes, and only a bit of olive oil and sherry vinegar.

Two days later, when I got some very ripe and juicy tomatoes, my version of his soup was ready. It is indeed almost a one-ingredient soup and the only difficulty comes with straining the soup after it is puréed first, to get rid of the peel and seeds. It takes away some part of the volume so you end up with much less than when you make gazpacho with other vegetables and tomato juice. But if you are a connoisseur of real food, this gazpacho is a summer delight worth making and trying.

Fresh Gazpacho
(Serves six)

3 lb ripe, juicy tomatoes,
2 small garlic cloves,
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil,
3-4 tbsp sherry vinegar,
salt and pepper.

1. Wash tomatoes, cut in quarters and place them in a food processor. Pulse the blender several times until tomatoes make a smooth cream.

2. Strain the sauce through a colander with small holes or a sieve to discard the peel and skins.
3. Return the tomato sauce to the blender, add garlic, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Blend all the ingredients until creamy. Add slowly olive oil in three parts and blend well again.
4. Let it chill for about 1/2 hour and serve in glass goblets.