According to Alan Davidson, in The Oxford Companion to Food, gazpacho originally derived from the Arabs in
Spain (8th to 13th century), and contains the essential ingredients: bread, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and water. The Andalusian
gazpacho we eat today contains, in addition, tomaotes, peppers, and cucumber. Gazpachos can be eaten either hot or cold, and
range in consistency from very liquid to the consistency of salsa.
We started eating gazpacho in 1974 when we lived briefly in Boulder, Colorado. My passion for spicy, peppery food
was just beginning. In June, 1987, I came across this particular gazpacho recipe in the NY Times,, and it has become
our favorite. It's a great dish to use the abundant vegetables in July and August in central Illinois.
According to Mr. Davidson, the garlic should remain the dominant flavor; the bread provides thickness
and heartiness, and the vinegar is to provide refreshment, according to the Roman custom.
I usually prepare several bottles of gazpacho to keep in the refrigerator during hot weather. You can add hot sauce
or other hot pepper, if desired.
Yield: 6-8 servings
- 2 medium cucumbers, peeled
- 5 medium tomatoes, peeled
- 1 large onion, peeled
- 1 medium green pepper, seeded and cut in pieces
- 2 tsp. garlic
- 4 cups crumbled French or Italian bread, trimmed of crust (make croutons from the crust)
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 4 tsp. salt
- 4 T. olive oil
- 1 T. tomato paste
- additional olive oil and garlic for croutons
Combine vegetables in Cuisinart, in batches; chop finely.
To the vegetables, add and pureé bread, vinegar, salt, tomato paste, and oil.
Put pureed material into
a storage container. Add the water to the Cuisinart bowl to dissolve the
remaining pureé. Add this aqueous material to the storage container.
Refrigerate for several hours. Sauté croutons in olive oil and garlic.
Serve this very cold, with or without the croutons.