IT is that time of year when if you can help it, anything that reduces the heat in the kitchen is a bonus. If I can, I try to prepare things in the morning whilst it is still cool. This week however, there was one day, where I honestly couldn’t be bothered to cook anything, and Gazpacho had to be made.
With all the fabulous fruits and vegetables in season, whether you grow your own, buy from the supermarkets, or visit a local market, Gazpacho makes good use of them, as well as being a delicious dish.
There are many recipes out there and I have tried quite a few of them. Some use vegetable stock, some prefer green peppers, others red peppers, but the one I like to make is a bit of a variation of them and includes bread which helps to thicken it. I also like to add croutons and few chunky pieces of peppers and cucumber to garnish, which adds to the presentation of what I consider to be a lazy dish. If you have never tried it, give it a go. You may want to play about with ingredients to get the flavour you prefer, but that is the beauty of this no cook dish being quick to make and change it a little as you go along. Just make sure you chill it for at least a couple of hours before you serve it, which helps to enhance the flavours.
4-5 large very ripe tomatoes – Seeds removed, no need to peel
1 small red onion chopped (white will be fine if you cannot get red) – Save a little for garnish
1 red pepper – deseeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 slice of white bread torn into pieces, crusts removed (or take some of the white out of yesterday’s baguette)
One cucumber deseeded, peeled and chopped – Save a little for garnish
Olive Oil – 3 – 4 tablespoons is plenty
1 teaspoon of Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional – Croutons, chopped cucumber, green pepper and finely chopped onion to garnish
Add all your ingredients into a food processor and whizz it up. I like a bit of texture but if you prefer it perfectly smooth, that works fine by whizzing for an extra minute, if it is too thick, you can always add a little cold vegetable stock. Once you have got all your flavours as you like it, add all this to a large bowl, cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving, or preferably overnight.
Whilst this is a perfect vegetarian dish, you can add chopped hard-boiled eggs and fine strips of serrano ham to the top as part of the garnish when serving.