IN LIGHT OF US ALL STAYING HOME AT THE MOMENT, I WANTED TO OPEN UP THE PANTRY AND GET THE PARTY STARTED WITH SOME RIFFS ON RECIPES THAT YOU CAN CREATE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE IN THE KITCHEN, OR COULD EASILY SOURCE FROM YOUR LOCAL CORNERSHOP.
Lockdown aside, the sun is shining and birds are singing, so I declare Gazpacho Season upon us. Get ready to fall in love with a new version of this classic chilled soup for al fresco summertime enjoyment at home.
I grew up mainlining this stuff so nailing down a basic recipe was pretty hot on my agenda a few years ago. Over time, it has naturally evolved into this smoky version which has a multitude of uses. Serve it in little espresso cups alongside other nibbles, it is also fun served in G&T glasses as a starter – in fact, if you’re feeling spicy, add a slug of gin lending a Red Snapper kick to the moment. And the rest of the time, enjoy it in big bowls with any amount of garnishes the heart desires.
Bring Spanish sunshine to your doorstep and give this recipe a whirl today.
Serves two for a meal or four as a snack
50g white bread (oats will also work)
80ml extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
600g (around 6) very ripe tomatoes, peeled and halved
1 ripe red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
½ large cucumber, roughly chopped
2 cloves smoked garlic, roughly chopped (if you can’t find smoked garlic, slow roast regular garlic)
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar would be grand too)
1 tbsp of both the pepper and cucumber, very finely diced (to garnish)
fresh mint or parsley, chopped (to garnish)
Any good blender or smoothie machine
- Soak the bread (or oats) in water for 20 mins. This is the secret to success as it helps bind everything together. Spend some time prepping your garnish during this time
- Add the EVOO, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and crushed garlic to the blender
- Squeeze out the bread, tear into chunks, and add to the mixture
- Blend for as long as possible, definitely longer than you think. Add the sherry vinegar and paprika, and season to taste. Give it another pulse to combine everything
- Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, leaving it overnight is preferable
- Serve in bowls or balloon glasses with a spoonful of the garnish, another crack of black pepper and drizzle of EVOO
- Ripe, or even overripe, fruit and veg is key as it is sweeter and will contribute even more flavour to your Gazzzzzzpacho
- Peeling the tomatoes renders a lovely smooth consistency. For an even silkier mouthfeel, you could pass the finished gazpacho through a sieve at the end of stage 4
- If the tomatoes you find aren’t ripe enough (common at this time of year) you could use 500g passata instead, just don’t add all the liquid at once
- Tempting as it may be to chill with ice cubes, like many recipes suggest, don’t! They will dilute the flavours
- The sky is the limit with garnishes. Popular additions include olives, spring onions and fresh chili. Or for something a bit heartier, jamon and anchovies also work a treat