k Probably the best Gazpacho ever...with chilli marjoram ice cubes k
Mid summer is the very best time for making gazpacho. A classic of Spanish genre – refreshing and full of ripe, summery flavours which is often described as ‘a salad soup’.
The real secret to gazpacho is the ripeness of the tomatoes and peppers – forget making this with anaemic midwinter tomatoes or crunchy peppers, they just won’t cut the mustard as they’re the stars of the show. You really will have to find the very best ingredients you can get your hands on. I simply waited for my friend Rosuara at Viva Flor to let me know when the time was right.
On display in the shade outside her gorgeous shop she has crates of all the ingredients for THE best gazpacho…cor de bou tomatoes, Pimento blanco Ibiza (white peppers) which she tells me are super sweet with thin tender skins perfect for gazpacho, along with the freshest of the fresh punchy garlic and mega ripe Ibiza cucumbers.
Originating in the southern region of Andalusia there are two camps of thought when it come to gazpacho and that is the inclusion of bread. Traditional recipes call only for a mixture of tomatoes and peppers, cucumber, bread, olive oil and garlic.
Rosura says that without the bread it’s more like a juice that you can quickly gulp down, but she agrees that the bread adds body and a rich creaminess. I asked whether she sieves her gazpacho and she said that she likes to sieve 80% and adds some of the blended pulp to add a bit of thickness. I decided to go with her expert advice.
When it comes to serving I thought it would be fun and extra refreshing to serve it with ice cubes – but pimped up ones. I didn’t want the flavour of the gazpacho to be diluted so I added chopped red chillies and fresh marjoram that has taken on a big growing spurt in my herb garden. Also it has incredibly pretty lilac flowers which are gorgeous to use for a garnish! Initially I tried putting tiny cubes of avocado on top but they sank so I made a perfect little floating raft with a cucumber slice and hey presto! With the chilli kick from the cubes and little bits of avocado it makes very sophisticated little number, amazingly healthy and great for any time of the day and with vegetable juicing becoming so popular now I’m certainly thinking its about time gazpacho has a proper comeback – it’s a true wonder.
Ingredients (serves 4)
100g slightly stale white bread, soaked in cold water for 20 mins
1kg very ripe tomatoes, diced
1 ripe red pepper deseeded and diced
1 Ibiza white pepper (but green pepper will suffice) deseeded and diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
150ml extra virgin olive oil
2tbsp sherry vinegar
Course sea salt and pepper to taste
For the ice cubes
Chopped red chilli
Chopped marjoram (or basil or parsley)
Small avocado diced
Slices of cucumber (skin removed)
Small flowering herbs (if possible)
1. First make the chilli herb ice cubes. Simply add a combination of red chillies and a herb of your choice – you will see that the chillies sink to the bottom and the herbs float on the top making a stunning layered effect when frozen
2. Mix the diced tomatoes, peppers and cucumber with the crushed garlic and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Squeeze the water out the bread, tear it roughly into chunks, and add to the mixture. Note: you will have to do this in two batches unless you have a super sized blender
3. Add the salt, pepper and vinegar to taste and stir well
4. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve but reserve a little of the fine pulp to add a bit of thickness, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled
5. Garnish with a floating raft of cucumber with the diced avocado resting on top and a sprig of flowering herbs (if you have). Just stunning