“You can never have too much gazpacho!”, a Spanish idiom for “You can never have too much of a good thing!”
Gazpacho is a classic chilled healthy Spanish soup perfect to sip on a hot, balmy summer day or sultry evening. I like to identify gazpacho as a savoury smoothie with snappy exciting flavours. For added texture, gazpacho is topped with fresh diced raw vegetables and crunchy spiced croutons.
Originating from Andalucía where summers are very dry and hot, the soup was created from their abundant olive oil, tomatoes and red peppers. If you like to make your dishes as authentic as possible, I recommend using Spanish sherry vinegar, as it balances all the flavours together perfectly without being too powerful and acidic.
A few years back I was looking forward to sampling a good gazpacho while visiting Madrid. Unbeknown to me, I was disappointed to learn that bread is used to make gazpacho, so I never had a chance to sample one gluten-free. As one of the main ingredients. It turns out that the bread is important to soak up the flavours and thicken the soup. Besides its function, it is a great way to use up any stale bread and bring it back to life.
My recipe can either be served as a soup or in small portions in shot glasses as a tapas appetiser to my gluten-free Spanish tapas menu.
For the soup:
- 4 slices of store-bought or homemade gluten-free sandwich white bread or soda bread
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 80ml olive oil
- 60ml good quality Spanish sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 4 good quality ripe tomatoes
- 1 red pepper/capsicum, chopped coarsely
- 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped coarsely
- 1 red onion, chopped coarsely
- 4 strawberries, stems removed
- 80ml freshly squeezed orange juice from 1 ½ – 2 oranges
For the vegetable toppings:
- 2 tablespoons red onion, diced finely
- 2 tablespoons red pepper, diced finely
- 2 tablespoons cucumber, diced finely
- A few segments of fresh orange without the peel
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, diced finely
For the croutons:
- 3 slices of store-bought or homemade gluten-free sandwich white bread or soda bread
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- A pinch of salt
- A pinch of smoked paprika
- A pinch of cumin powder
- Slice the crusts off each bread slice and tear them into small pieces.
2. Combine the torn bread with garlic, olive oil and sherry or red wine vinegar in a small glass or ceramic bowl. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
3. Remove the tomato skins by cutting a “cross” at the stem part of the tomato, then plunging them in a pot with boiling water. After 1 minute, remove the tomatoes and immediately plunge them into a bowl of iced water. This will buckle the skin and make it easy to peel.
4. Remove the tomatoes from the cold water and peel the skins off the tomatoes.
5. Place all the gazpacho soup ingredients listed including the soaked bread mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.
6. Stain the blended mixture into a bowl or large jug and chill for several hours. Overnight is ideal so that it develops flavour.
7. Prepare the croutons by slicing off the crusts and cutting the bread into small squares.
8. In a small bowl, add the bread cubes and sprinkle the salt, smoked paprika and cumin over them, mixing well.
9. Heat a wide pan and add the olive oil. Over medium-high heat, add the bread cubes and fry them until golden brown, stirring often. Set aside or store in an airtight container until serving time.
10. Prepare the vegetable toppings by chopping them finely. Transfer to a plate and cover. Set aside to garnish later when serving.
11. When serving, pour the chilled gazpacho soup into attractive glasses or shot glasses and garnish each serving with the prepared vegetable toppings and crisp croutons.
- Makes 4 servings
- Keeps for 4 days chilled
- Suitable to freeze
- Not suitable to heat
Gazpacho is best made the day before. This is perfect for planning ahead a dinner party or tapas evening. The croutons can be made a few days earlier, but store them in an airtight container so that they remain crisp.