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    Gazpacho

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    Gazpacho

    Tomatoes and time are two essential ingredients for making a good gazpacho, according to Ramon Salto, the sous chef at L'Albufera, the celebrated Spanish restaurant near London's Regents Park. The chef learned to make this cold soup in Andalucia, where the recipe is said to originate. But ask a dozen chefs that hail from this region and not one of their recipes is the same. "Some people like to add bread, others exclude cucumbers. Red and green peppers are often used. There is not a definitive recipe," Ramon explains. The key is in choosing ripe tomatoes (the plum variety if they are available) and allowing the soup's flavours to develop overnight. "If I want gazpacho tomorrow, I'll make it today," says the chef.

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus overnight marinating
    • Total time: 20 minutes, plus overnight marinating 15 minutes

    Serves: 6

    Ingredients

    • 1kg ripe plum tomatoes
    • 1 green pepper
    • 100g white onion
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 4-5 cumin seeds
    • 100ml sherry vinegar
    • 750ml olive oil
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper

    Method

    1. Roughly chop the tomatoes and place in a large plastic bowl or box. Halve, deseed and roughly chop the pepper and add this. Roughly chop the onion and the garlic and add these too. Stir in the cumin seeds, sherry vinegar and olive oil and season well. Mix thoroughly, then leave to marinate overnight, or for at least 8 hours, so the flavours mingle and deepen.
    2. The following day, purée the mixture in a blender - you will probably have to do this in batches. Then, also in batches, push the puréed gazpacho through a sieve. Taste and adjust the seasoning (you might like to add a pinch of sugar to enhance the flavour of the tomatoes). Serve the soup immediately, while it is still cold, in broad bowls. There are many ways to garnish it: try a swirl of chive oil, some slivers of serrano ham, or a mound of fresh crab and some Spanish extra virgin olive oil. Buy a freshly cooked, dressed crab, pick out the white meat and shred it finely, then simply pile on to the gazpacho. One crab should give you enough white meat to garnish this soup for six people.
    3. Alternatively... Try Waitrose Gazpacho (£1.99/600g). In addition to fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic and red peppers, it has sun-dried tomato paste, minced chilli and coriander in the mix. It's delicious, refreshing and ready to eat - perfect for a hot summer's day when you're feeling lazy.

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    Variation

    Try Waitrose Gazpacho (£1.99/600g). In addition to fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic and red peppers, it has sun-dried tomato paste, minced chilli and coriander in the mix. It's delicious, refreshing and ready to eat - perfect for a hot summer's day when you're feeling lazy.

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