Are you a connoisseur of cuisine?
Culinary vacationers often come to Spain in search of the local produce, fresh flavors, and classic cooking methods which make the country famous.
Here, you’ll find a medley of ingredients mixed together in such a way that will raise your eyebrows and your appetite.
There are a number of famous dishes which hail from this part of the world, but one summer soup stands out above the rest.
This titillating sensory experience is not so much a soup but a liquid salad, and its blends of ingredients ensure its place on the walls of the food hall of fame.
So what’s so special about it?
Read on to discover how this little bowl of goodness came to be, and how you can make it from the comfort of your own home.
Gazpacho Explained: Origins and History
So what is gazpacho?
Basically, it’s a raw, cold soup made from a variety of fresh ingredients.
The history of gazpacho is actually quite interesting.
It originated in Andalucia, the southernmost part of Spain. Here marched the Roman legions of the olden days, each soldier carrying his own personal stash of food.
This stash included bread, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and garlic. Each man would create his meals from this, and each did it in a different way. These base ingredients stayed the same in the Andalucian diet for centuries.
Fast forward many years. The Roman soldiers are gone, but the ingredients remain — and Christopher Columbus comes back with a little something to add to the mix: the tomato.
Farmers and field workers in Andalucia were still eating the same thing as the Roman soldiers. They soaked the bread and water, adding the oil, garlic, salt, and vinegar to make a soup.
With the addition of the tomato into the regular Spanish diet, something new was born.
Gazpacho is now a staple of the Spanish diet, and there are a whole plethora of gazpacho recipes out there.
3 Delicious Varieties of Gazpacho
There aren’t really any hard-and-fast rules to gazpacho, though there are guidelines.
Each region has a different type of gazpacho, all of which are delicious and worth trying if you get a hankering for a lovely liquid salad on a hot summer day.
1. Red Gazpacho
Red gazpacho is the king of gazpacho soup. It combines tomatoes, peppers, garlic, olive oil, stale bread, and vinegar together to make a raw soup perfect for a summer day.
It’s smooth and creamy, not at all like the “salsa-style” gazpacho you’ll find in the States. Traditionally, it’s served with a hard-boiled egg.
2. White Gazpacho
White gazpacho is a throwback to ancient times before tomatoes, and is sweetened with grapes or melon.
It’s made by grinding almonds or pine nuts into a paste, and incorporating it into the base. This results in a creamy yet light soup with a delightfully sweet taste.
3. Green Gazpacho
Green gazpacho is the most fragrant of them all. It relies on spinach, lettuce, or endive for its color. Parsley, cilantro, and other herbs add a distinctive flavor.
Green gazpacho in restaurants may also use avocado or yogurt for texture.
The Only Gazpacho Recipe You’ll Ever Need
Get together these ingredients:
- ¼ cup Spanish olive oil (real, extra-virgin olive oil from Spain)
- 10 oz stale bread, no crust
- 1 sweet onion
- 1.5 lbs. large tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (preferably Spanish)
- 1 tsp cumin
First, soak your bread in a bowl with water. Leave it in for around ten minutes. Then remove it and squeeze it like a sponge to get the excess water out.
The bread is paramount to a good gazpacho. It acts as a thickener, helping to give the soup its hearty texture. Set it aside and start prepping your vegetables.
It’s very important that you remove all the skin and seeds from each vegetable. They will infuse your soup with a bitter flavor, and your gazpacho could fail to wow the crowd.
Once all the seeds are gone, chop the vegetables into small pieces. Blend them together with the bread and all the other ingredients in a blender until you have a smooth texture.
Consider adding water if the mixture sticks to much in the blender. It should be smooth and soupy, not thick and gloopy.
You don’t want it to be too thin though, so add just a little bit of water at a time.
Chill the soup for two or three hours before serving with toasted bread or chopped vegetables.
Gazpacho Provides an Authentic Spanish Treat Any Time
Gazpacho is good anytime, but it really hits the spot in the summer.
Don’t be afraid to make gazpacho for friends, family, and coworkers at the company picnic this year. No matter who you’re serving, they’ll appreciate getting an authentic taste of Spain.