There’s nothing like a chilled soup for dinner on a hot summer’s night and gazpacho captures the best of the season’s fresh vegetable bounty. It is easy and quick to make (all you need is a blender) and always tastes better the next day…it can be a simple dinner for one and it also makes a great first course at a dinner party.
I was reminded of this on Saturday night in Vancouver when my mother served an amazing gazpacho at a dinner party – it was chunkier than I usually make but she added something new that just put it over the top: a mix of crab and small shrimps (tossed in a light basil and mayonnaise-based dressing before hand) that was dolloped in the middle of the soup bowl. The colour combination was fabulous and the creaminess of the seafood blended so well with the crunchy crisp flavours of the gazpacho…incredibly yummy…
I tend to prefer a smoother gazpacho; my usual recipe involves adding bread and I also like the tang that sherry vinegar adds to the soup.
Classic Gazpacho (Serves 4)
Soak a 2-inch piece of baguette (crust removed) in 1/2 cup of water for about 1 minute and then squeeze dry. Mash 2 cloves of garlic with 2 tsp of salt using a mortar & pestle and then blend with bread, 2 tbs of sherry vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp ground cumin and about 1 lb of cored and quartered ripe tomatoes in a blender or food processor until tomatoes are finely chopped. Adding remaining 1 lbs of cored and quartered ripe tomatoes with motor running. When all is finely chopped, gradually add 1/2 cup of olive oil in a slow stream, blending until as smooth as possible. Chill & covered for at least 3 hours. Season with salt & vinegar before serving.
This is an easy recipe to adapt according to your taste: you can add red onion, cucumber, zucchini, whatever appeals…
I also love vicchysoisse and chilled cucumber soup in the summer…what are your favourite summer soups?