by Jay Kitterman, consultant, LLCC Culinary Institute
Summer tomatoes are bountiful and one of Carol’s top items (and my favorite) to prepare is gazpacho. More of a drink than a soup, served in frosted glasses or chilled tumblers, gazpacho is perfect when it is too hot to eat but you need cold, salty and refreshing.
Most agree gazpacho originated in the southern regions of the Iberian Peninsula and spread into other areas of Spain and Portugal. Carol prepares hers with chunky vegetables, and it makes for a great lunch. I add some tabasco to “kick” it up.
Most gazpachos include stale bread (croutons), tomato, cucumbers, onion, capsicum, garlic, olive oil, wine vinegar, water and salt. Gazpachos may be classified by color, the most usual red ones (which contain tomato), white ones (which contain no tomato, but often include dried fruits) and green ones (which are white but contain some spices that make them green). Gazpacho may be served as a starter, main dish or a tapa. Gazpacho shooters are a fun appetizer.
I asked Chef Aurora Coffey from the new Luminary and Maldaner’s Chef Michael Higgins for their gazpacho recipes. Thank you, Chefs.
Aurora’s Green Gazpacho
(Recipe serves around four 4 oz bowls)
- English cucumbers ((about 1.5 pounds), halved lengthwise and roughly chopped)
- 1.5 pounds green grapes, (plus more for garnish)
- 1 avocado, (peeled, pitted, and quartered)
- 1 small rough chopped shallot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, (plus more for garnish)
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- handful of mint & basil leaves, (plus more for garnish if desired)
- 1/4 cup salted roasted Spanish almonds
Place all the ingredients, except the almonds, in a blender and blend until smooth.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until very cold. Serve the chilled soup topped with sliced grapes, almonds, mint & basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil. “I also like a few dashes of crushed red pepper or quick pickled chilis for an extra kick. I like to serve this with a nice, chilled crab salad on buttered toast for a nice light complete meal! Or if you can find nice coppa ham i like to shave some very thin to add some salty spicy goodness to the soup.”
Chef Michael Higgins Gazpacho Sevilliano
- 2 cups cubed day old country bread-crusts removed
- 2 medium size garlic cloves-chopped
- 1 small pinch of cumin seeds or ground cumin
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 3 pounds most flavorful tomatoes possible seeded & chopped
- 2 small Kirby (pickling) cucumbers, peeled & chopped
- 1 large Italian (frying) pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 1 medium sized red bell pepper, cored, seeded, & chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped red onion
- ½ cup fragrant extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chilled bottled spring water or more as needed
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, preferably aged, or more to taste
Place the bread in a bowl, add cold water to cover and let soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the bread and squeeze out the excess liquid
Place the garlic, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt in a mortar and using a pestle, mash them to a paste
Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, Italian and red peppers, onion, soaked bread, and the garlic paste on a large bowl and toss to mix. Let stand for about 15 minutes. Working in two batches, place the vegetable mixture in a food processor and process until smooth, adding half of the olive oil to each batch. Once each batch is finished, puree it finely in a blender, then transfer it to a large mixing bowl.
When all the gazpacho has been pureed, whisk in the spring water and vinegar. It should have the consistency of a smoothie. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and or vinegar as necessary. Refrigerate the gazpacho covered, until chilled, about 2 hours. Serve the soup in glass bowls or wineglasses with garnishes. If making the gazpacho a day ahead, do not add the garlic more than 2 to 3 hours before serving or it may overwhelm other flavors. Suggested garnishes are finely diced cucumbers, finely diced peeled Granny Smith apple, finely diced slightly under-ripe tomato, finely diced green bell pepper, tiny olive oil croutons, and slivered small basil leaves.
Chef Michael adds “remember gazpacho is Spanish, no cilantro, and if you can, find a good aged Spanish vinegar. The garnishes should be spooned in the center of the bowl after gazpacho has been put in the bowl.” Enjoy!