The Great Gazpacho
In summer, chilled soups cool the spirit as effectively as steaming bowls of soup take the chill from a bone-chilling winter day. The most traditional cold soup, gazpacho, is made from the best that summer has to offer: juicy ripe tomatoes and crisp cucumbers. It is summer in a bowl.
Said to originate in the southern Spanish region of Andalucia, gazpacho was originally served at the end of the meal. Centuries ago, gazpacho was made with nothing more than bread, garlic, salt, olive oil, vinegar, and water. After the discovery of the Americas in the early 1500s, tomato was incorporated, and today, gazpacho has become a refreshing start to a meal.
I remember my mother serving vichyssoise (another classic cold soup) at dinner parties in the late 60s from a silver bowl sitting on ice. How sophisticated, I thought, with a name which evoked refinement. Vichyssoise is actually an American invention despite its French name, and made with potatoes, leeks, chicken broth, and cream with a little salt and pepper and garnished with chives.
I love cold soup and always have several in the fridge at any one time during the summer. I keep them in empty recycled glass juice bottles for easy pour and storage.
3 ways to serve gazpacho:
1. Serve three different kinds (and colours) in verrines as a light appetizer
2. Fill a thermos jug with it to bring along on your picnics
3. Serve it shooter style on the patio as an hors d’oeuvre
How much texture you leave in soups is a matter of personal preference. If you’re serving them to sip instead of with a spoon, then they must be pureed until smooth. But if you’re eating them at the table, you may want to keep some of the ingredients’ texture more consistent for spoon soup use.
Instructions for Beet Gazpacho with Pistachios
Here are some of my favourite gazpacho recipes:
I make a modern version of the tomato gazpacho (without the soaked bread and cumin of the Andaluz classic), preferring a spicier version.