A couple of years ago, Bryan and I went to Spain with his family. We stayed in Marbella, a town in Andalusia that provided us with a good location from which to explore southern Spain. I completely fell in love with the region, especially the food. I ate gazpacho at least once a day for the entire week we were there and I never had a bad bowl of the stuff. Even the cartons of gazpacho that were sold at grocery stores were oddly satisfying. I came home vowing to continue to eat the cold tomato soup as often as possible—but like most plans made during travel, this one was never realized. In fact, I have gone through two tomato seasons without a drop of gazpacho. Not this year.
The technique is simple, puree a bunch of vegetables in a blender, chill, serve. The results are delicious, even if they don’t stand up to the experience of eating it on the beach in Spain. For the record, I don’t approve of the chunky stuff. It isn’t gazpacho to me. It always feels like eating salsa with a spoon. I like it smooth and topped with some diced cucumber, pepper and onion. Maybe some tiny croutons. Ingredients are key for this recipe. You want superb tomatoes, good bread and an olive oil you love. make this soon, because before you know it tomatoes will be gone and you’ll be waiting until next summer.
Gazpacho (adapted from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen)
- 2 cups cubed day-old country bread, crusts removed
- 2 medium sized garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small pinch ground cumin
- kosher salt
- 3 pounds ripest, most flavorful tomatoes possible, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium-size red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chilled spring water
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Place the bread in a bowl, add cold water to cover, and let set for 5-10 minutes. Drain the bread and squeeze out extra liquid.
Place the garlic, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a mortar and, using a pestle, mash them to a paste.
Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper, onion, soaked bread, and the garlic paste in a large bowl and toss. Let stand for 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. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt or vinegar as necessary. Refrigerate the gazpacho, covered, until chilled, about 2 hours.
Garnish gazpacho with chopped cucumber, pepper, onion or croutons, if desired.
September 23rd, 2010 at 10:04 am
for the spring water and olive oil, is it 1/2 cup? this sounds delicious, and the color is so vibrant.
September 23rd, 2010 at 10:12 am
yes, Jen, thanks for catching that! it is fixed.
September 23rd, 2010 at 10:44 am
Thank you so much for this authentic recipe! I studied abroad in Malaga this spring and have missed the cuisine from the second I got on the airplane.
September 23rd, 2010 at 10:56 am
I love gazpacho. Made some earlier this summer. Will have to try your recipe using my in-laws bounty of tomatoes!
The French says:
September 23rd, 2010 at 11:18 am
I’m so glad you posted this! I heard a ‘Good Food’ episode about the real gazpacho and I’ve been thinking about it ever since! Thanks…
Heather @ chik n pastry says:
September 23rd, 2010 at 11:28 am
i really like gazpacho, but the Hubs isn’t a fan of cold soup, so i’ve never made it. this looks so good though, so i’m thinking I might make it for myself and eat it for lunch throughout the week :). gotta love those vacation promises!
September 23rd, 2010 at 11:45 am
Yes, Heather- make it for yourself! Those of us with partners who have strange (?!) food preferences need to make sure we still treat ourselves well. We ate this for a couple of days after, holds up well.
For the croutons, I used the same bread that was in the soup, cut it into tiny little cubes, and fried them in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. They are really good.
September 23rd, 2010 at 11:49 am
that’s a pretty soup. nice touch on the garnish, and with the additions of cumin and sherry vinegar.
September 23rd, 2010 at 11:49 am
“It always feels like eating salsa with a spoon.”
you hit the nail on the head! I love the idea of gazpacho (and the experience of eating it in spain didn’t hurt either) but I would get so bored so quickly with it when I made it. Can’t wait to try this one….
September 23rd, 2010 at 11:53 am
Congratulations!! It looks wonderful, completely Spanish!! Really nice the way you’ve cut the cucumber! For me, fried bread is the key, so my mother uses to prepare it the same way!
September 23rd, 2010 at 11:58 am
Gazpacho is eaten in southern Spain and Portugal, too. Different regions will have slightly different recipes; there is one version that does not process the vegetables completely into purée and some vegetables float (a bit like a cold minestrone soup but without the beans and cabbage!). I love all variants! Cheers!
September 23rd, 2010 at 12:02 pm
Every time I hear or see the word Andalusia I think of the band The Pixies and then I start singing “Debaser” (in my head, of course). Oh, the soup…It’s a work of art. I love how the garnish is arranged.
September 23rd, 2010 at 12:41 pm
Tim – I love how bright your gazpacho is – mine is always a bit more pinky/salmomy colored. How do you get it to stay so red?
September 23rd, 2010 at 1:05 pm
YUM! This would have gone great as a starter to my paella party, it’s on the menu next time for sure! Has anyone ever spiked their gazpacho with gin or vodka? It’s like the best bloody mary EVER.
September 23rd, 2010 at 1:25 pm
Thanks every, glad to see Gazpacho fans in the house!
Caitlin, I use magic. No, not really- I have no idea! I used heirlooms, which were pretty dark, so maybe that helped? The red pepper?
September 23rd, 2010 at 3:54 pm
Thanks Tim – and I think the red pepper might be it. On closer inspection, I have always used green or yellow. Now I know :)
September 23rd, 2010 at 7:09 pm
I’ve been mulling over making this forever too … mmmmmm, this one looks so GOOD!
September 24th, 2010 at 8:44 am
Ugh! I am studying abroad in Sevilla right right now and I haven´t even had gaspacho yet. The draw of free food in my homestay has kept me out of the restaurants. I´m not really allowed to cook for myself, but oh if I were, I´d be at the Triana market in a heartbeat!
(If you have any specific Andalusia recommendations, other than gaspacho, I would love to hear them! Read them! One of those!)
Thanks so much (for this post and this blog and any response!)
September 24th, 2010 at 1:42 pm
Your photos of this are absolutely stunning!
And you know what? I made the chunky kind this summer. I loved it but….I totally know what you mean about salsa with a spoon!
September 24th, 2010 at 2:30 pm
Another beautiful post! I am going to make this over the weekend with my father.
September 24th, 2010 at 7:16 pm
I love gazpacho! I mean I LOVE gazpacho! My mom’s friend makes the best! Thanks for this recipe I’ll try it out! (;
September 25th, 2010 at 1:57 pm
Thanks so much! I made a special trip to the farmers market this morning just to get the ingredients for this. I used all different colored tomatoes so it turned out to be a little pink. But it tastes wonderful :)
jennifer m says:
September 25th, 2010 at 9:27 pm
Mitch like Bryan does not enjoy raw tomatoes, but like you he ate Gazpacho every day in Spain. He claims that even in Andalusia each bowl was different. I have tried a number of recipes at home (all different and all Andalusia-style!) and he has enjoyed them. Even when they call for whisking the ingredients, I give them a toss in the blender then we add the diced vegetables and homemade croutons for garnish. This for someone who does not like raw tomatoes and often doesn’t enjoy soup!?
amber perrodin says:
September 26th, 2010 at 7:17 pm
this looks delicious! you are always so inspiring!
September 26th, 2010 at 7:34 pm
So glad you liked it, Emily!
September 26th, 2010 at 7:35 pm
See you Wednesday, Jen!
Amber, thanks so much!
September 27th, 2010 at 1:55 pm
el gazpacho esta muy bueno, como el salmorejo, son dos platos típicos de Córdoba (España), y muy fácil de hacer. se toma mucho en primavera y verano.
Os lo aconsejo a todos ;)
September 27th, 2010 at 1:56 pm
gazpacho is very good, like gazpacho, are two dishes from Córdoba (Spain), and very easy to do. it takes a lot in spring and summer.
I advise you all;)
September 27th, 2010 at 1:59 pm
sl verdadero no se le echa comino, y la cebolla puede ser normal. Lo demás más o menos esta bien
sl real check is not cumin, and onion may be normal. The rest more or less okay
September 29th, 2010 at 8:16 pm
I’ve fallen fast and hard for gazpacho these past two years, after a lifetime of keeping it at arms length. My love thus far is chunky and pebbled, but I”m suddenly intrigued by a smooth alter-ego. Dog-earing for next summer….
Megan Gordon says:
September 30th, 2010 at 8:54 pm
I’m really excited about this recipe for a few reasons: 1) it’s strangely hot here, 2) I love gazpacho, 3) the recipes I’ve tried that use bread have, honestly, turned out brown and very, very odd. So I’m really looking forward to trying this one. And you’ve also introduced me to my new long-distance bakery crush: Floriole. Never been…dying to go. Because of you, I now stalk them from half-way across the country :)
September 30th, 2010 at 9:36 pm
Megan, come to Chicago and I will take you there!
elizabeth @ sophisticated pie says:
October 6th, 2010 at 3:28 pm
mmm delish. the garnishes look absolutely stunning!
October 15th, 2010 at 12:27 am
Just found your blog, and let’s just say I will be back here every day!!! Thank you for great culinary inspirations.
August 23rd, 2011 at 8:14 pm
Long time, no comment! (I’ve been reading all of your postings though; welcome to the “tomato lovers club”! I love tomatoes even when they’re underripe; have you ever had fried green tomatoes? So delicious!)
Anyway, I digressed there for a minute. I was looking for a cold soup to serve as a starter course at a family bbq this Sunday, and this gazpacho sounds heavenly. Could you please tell me how many people this will serve? And how many days in advance can this be prepared? Another great recipe for tomato lovers like us!
August 23rd, 2011 at 8:28 pm
ex-Montrealer- thanks for commenting! hmmm. I think that soup made about 6 servings. It you leave the garlic out, you can make it a day or two in advance, maybe three. With the garlic in, I felt like it was only good for about 24 hours. The garlic starts to overpower. I LOVE green tomatoes. And fried green tomatoes are one of my favorite things ever. BUT, funny you should say that- check out this recipe for green tomato gazpacho that I shot for Bon Appetit. It is SO good: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/quick-recipes/2011/09/green-tomato-gazpacho And sounds perfect for you!
August 23rd, 2011 at 9:35 pm
Tim, did anyone ever tell you how great you are to reply to people’s comments and queries? I’ve read other people’s food blogs where all sorts of questions are thrown out, and the “blogger” hasn’t ever replied. So good of you to reply, and so quickly too!
Thanks for all of the info; I would definitely add the garlic since I think garlic, along with tomatoes, just makes all savory dishes taste better. (I’m also with you on your love for cheese–yummy!) However, I have a sister who will not go within a thousand feet of a garlic clove–I’m only exaggerating a little bit! So I might have to leave it out and then I’ll be able to prepare the soup in advance.
Took a look at the green tomato gazpacho. It looks and sounds good, but it lists a 1/2 jalapeno twice! I don’t know if that’s a typo, or if it’s meant to be really spicy…We “Canadians” aren’t as into chili, jalapeno or other hot peppers as much as Americans (and Hispanics) are. I would love to learn how to cook some really great Mexican, or other Latin American, foods. And learn some Spanish to go along with that, while I eat the tamales at that farmer’s market in Chicago you recommended (Green City Market?)!
August 24th, 2011 at 10:20 am
yes, there is a little bit of heat to the gazpacho- but it is still pretty mild. You could just use half the amount and it should work, even with your Canadian palate. When I make that gazpacho in advance, I add garlic to the half we are going to eat that day and then leave the other half without garlic. When I go to eat the other half, I’ll add a little minced garlic, and let it sit for 10 minutes to flavor.
August 28th, 2011 at 8:31 am
I’m making the gazpacho right now! The garlic idea is wonderful; I think I will adopt that; thank you.
June 28th, 2012 at 9:42 pm
Liz M. says:
January 15th, 2013 at 2:01 pm
Hello Tim! I discovered your website thanks to it being voted best food blog of 2012 on Saveur.com. I love how your recipes have a touch of advanced skills but are “doable” for the amateur cook willing to learn (I think I will with your recipes!). I live in Madrid and HAD to comment on the gazpacho – it’s perfection! I eat it all year round, I can’t say no to it. My favorite part is when they offer to add directly to the soup chopped pieces of onion, red pepper and cucumber. YUM. I used to dread cooking but my new year’s resolution (one of many…) is to improve my cooking skills, but I was overwhelmed with where to start. Now I know!! Your recipes will be my guide and I’m pumped :) Thank you! “Saludos” from Madrid!
Ann @ Dinner Is Served says:
August 26th, 2013 at 3:31 pm
Glory be, this is probably THE best gazpacho I’ve ever made! Perfect day for it too. Temps in the high 90’s here in Chicago AND I have a bumper crop of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. You ROCK!
September 8th, 2013 at 11:27 pm
I made two gallons of your Gazpacho for my gallery photo show opening this past Saturday.
I served it in little five ounce cups as Gazpacho shooters. It was a hit–so much better than a typical veggie tray that is served at gallery openings. Several people asked for the recipe. The flavor definitely improves over night–not that it needs to be improved. Thank you.
September 9th, 2013 at 5:53 am
Glad you liked the gazpacho, Jeff…and congrats on your opening!