Gazpacho Recipe

In the midst of the August heatwave, Maxence and I sat at a dappled table of a restaurant in Urdax, a pretty village in the Spanish Basque country, and ordered gazpacho.

It was brought to us in white ceramic bowls, with a side plate of toppings to sprinkle in — cucumbers, green bell peppers, and onions, all of them finely diced, flakes of serano ham, and tiny croutons — and we slurped it all down thirstily.

The nostalgic remembrance of this beautifully quenching tomato soup inspired me to make it at home with one of the last batches of sun-kissed, ripe-to-bursting, fleshy tomatoes I got this summer.

Usually, when I lay my hands on excellent tomatoes, which is hard enough to do in Paris without taking out a mortgage, I tend to eat them simply, à la croque-au-sel (sliced and sprinkled with salt) or in very elemental tomato salads, dressed with a good olive oil, a touch of balsamic vinegar (I like the one from Beaumes-de-Venise I get from Première Pression Provence), a scatter of fresh herbs, and possibly a spoonful of black tapenade stirred in.

But the nostalgic remembrance of this beautifully quenching tomato soup inspired me to make it at home with one of the last batches of sun-kissed, ripe-to-bursting, fleshy tomatoes I got this summer.

I worked with the ingredients I had on hand, and therefore skipped the cucumber, which is often added, but wasn’t missed. And for practicality‘s sake, I opted to not peel the tomatoes, and to process the soup finely enough that it wouldn’t need sieving. (I also thinned it a little further after taking the above picture.)

It was astonishingly good, fruity and tangy and savory, all qualities a good gazpacho should display, and so gratifying I vowed to make it more often in the future. And after consulting my crystal ball, I saved a few servings in the freezer, in preparation for the gray months ahead.

A final note: some people say a chilled tomato soup that’s thickened with bread loses gazpacho naming rights and becomes a salmorejo; I’ll let you decide what you want to call it. And for a detailed discussion on the gazpacho-making technique, I’ll refer you to Felicity Cloake’s take on How to make perfect gazpacho.

What’s your favorite use for those late-season tomatoes? A panzanella, slow-roasted tomatoes, a tomato and einkorn wheat salad, or something else altogether?

Gazpacho Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Serves 4.

Gazpacho Recipe

Ingredients

  • 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) day-old bread, diced (I used stale baguette)
  • 1 kilogram (2 1/4 pounds) very ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bell pepper (any color, I used red), seeds removed and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, or more to taste

Instructions

  1. Put the bread in a bowl and add cold water just to cover. Let stand for 15 minutes, then squeeze to remove excess water.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the bread, tomatoes (including the skin, seeds, and juice), bell pepper, garlic, and salt. Put on an apron, and, using a blender or an immersion blender, process until completely smooth.
  3. Stir in the olive oil and vinegar, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to a day. Just before serving, add cold water as needed to reach the consistency you like.
  4. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve chilled, with optional garnishes such as finely diced cucumbers, green bell peppers, and onions, flakes of serano ham, and tiny croutons.
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/soups/gazpacho-recipe/

  • http://foodcocktail.com Adriana @ FoodCocktail

    I also ate gazpacho in Spain for the first time, but the difference is I didn’t get the chance to do a remake in my own kitchen. Maybe next summer..
    Yours looks so fresh!

  • http://Cookalotje.blogspot.com Charlotte

    I’m pretty sure that, as a parisienne you know this, but on Sunday morning there is a great market near Place de la Bastille. We visited this market and saw so many delicious vegetables and mushrooms. They probably have tomatoes (nice ones) there!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks Charlotte! Actually, the problem is not so much finding *good* tomatoes as finding *good* tomatoes that don’t cost a small fortune…

  • nick

    Simply perfectly ripe tomatoes, watermelon, basil with olive oil and a drop of balsamic vinegar

  • http://bucaio.blogspot.com Kai

    Hmmm, nice one to feed the baby when he grows a little older!

  • Madonna

    Panzanella is my favorite. Or caprese when I can find really good mozzarella. My tomatoes are almost finished for the year. Because of the heat and drought, the few I managed to grow were especially precious. The last of the Romas will be roasted and frozen for making sauces over the winter. And I’ll make very good use of the green tomatoes – fried, green tomato relish, pickles if there are enough of them.

  • Mo

    Greek salad of ripe tomatoes, a little cucumber for crunch, feta, and mint, dressed in olive oil and lemon juice. Or better yet, omit the feta and pile on top of grilled haloumi.

  • http://lusks.livejournal.com Lynette

    Try them with a sprinkling of caster sugar. Tomatoes are a fruit and with sugar it changes the taste entirely, try it and see. Great with pancakes and cream.

  • http://revessurpapier.wordpress.com Rachel

    I would say the bread definitely makes it a salmorejo – and thank you for reminding me of a lovely one I ate in a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Cordoba several years ago. Mmmmmm! (I sympathise about the difficulty of finding really good tomatoes in Paris… if anything, it’s even harder in London! But possible if you look hard enough.)

    My new favourite thing to do with end-of-summer tomatoes is a tomato stew with poached eggs I found on Cuisine Campagne. But sliced with a pinch of salt flakes and a little drizzle of olive oil is also hard to beat!

  • Amandinette

    We tried this recipe in Aix- very good! Added one cucumber, a fistful of basil leaves and piment for some kick.

  • http://eatwithgusto.wordpress.com/ E-Gusta

    What a lovely reminder of hot days in Albania where we ate gazpacho almost on repeat. I will try it again if these rainy cold ‘late-summer’ days in England ever improve!

    I also love panzanella, but lately have been eating tomatoes very simply- just on toasted sour dough, with crumbled goats cheese and fresh basil. Mmmmm….. I think I know what breakfast will be!

  • http://JuliasAlbum.com Julia

    That’s a lovely and simple recipe. Last couple of weeks, I’ve been on the kick of cooking with cherry/grape tomatoes. I’ve used them in breakfast tarts, pasta dishes, or just simply plain. And the best tomato soup I’ve ever had was at the Turkish restaurant many years ago.

  • ella

    ah ha! Here in Australia tomato season is just beginning…for a more substantial meal, chopped hard boiled eggs can also be included with the garnishes.

  • Marie Leon

    Love this gazpacho recipe, in Los Angeles here and tomatoes are still cheap and plentiful. also had a great melon season and my friend made this post, summer melon gazpacho !!!!! made yours for dinner and hers for dessert. Super healthy and cooled the entire family off.

  • http://www.forkandwhisk.com Fork and Whisk

    I love Caprese, also just love some thinly slice tomatoes with a little olive oil and sea salt. So simple but delicious.

  • Juliadevi

    Have I overlooked it, or has no one mentioned tomato bruschetta yet? We eat all kinds of gazpacho, insalata caprese, riffs on tomato salad… But good bread grilled over a fire, rubbed with a garlic clove and then topped with tomato, olive oil and salt… That is the essence of summer and I’ve yet to meet anyone impervious to its charms!

  • nyginko

    I, too, discovered gazpacho with end-of-the-summer tomatoes. It was in my home kitchen this year. What a treat.
    Then I found another use for these market treasures along with finely chopped mint, parsely, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and a few spoonfuls of a very good quality bulgar wheat mixed in.
    I copied this version from a middle eastern vendor at a neighborhood street fair. His tabbouleh was about eighty-five percent green! And so tasty. I mean to look for him again this week-end to ask him about his ingredients, but one thing for sure, each of the vegetable and herbal ingredients, including the tomatoes, were ripe, fresh, and intensely tasty.

  • lou

    But…. you need a cucumber!!! Gazpacho without the freshness of cucumber is not gazpacho!! At least in my country… sorry!!

  • http://judithchengart.com judith Cheng

    how about egg drop tomato soup, does not any simpler

  • doni

    Your recipe sounds very good, I bet it was a tasty gazpacho (although I cannot help but wonder at the unpeeled tomatoes…).

    On the salmorejo and cucumber debate. Yes, indeed, salmorejo is heavier on the bread front. But, bread is one of the few essential components of a gazpacho, the other two being olive oil and salt. In its essence, gazpachos are soups with a base of bread soaked in oil. They are quintesentially poor man’s lunches, designed to make stale bread edible with oil and adding whatever is around, very similar to the origin of panzanella. It is a very old dish and tomatoes are only a more recent addition, them having been brought from America. Of course, the tomato gazpacho (with or without cucumber) is now the most popular in Spain. All over Andalucia you can find all sort of variations, like the delicious “gazpachos blancos” (white gazpachos), made with the addition of almonds and not a tomato in sight.

  • http://www.forkandwhisk.com Fork and Whisk

    I love a good Gazpacho. One of the first soups I learned to make in Culinary School. Yours looks great.

  • http://www.greatfoodbook.co.uk Stephen

    Looks delicious, although cold soup in Scotland can only be served on the one sunny day of the year.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the giggle. :)

  • http://www.livingthevillage.com LivingTheVillage

    Love this recipe. I’ve been tinkering with gazpacho for a couple of months, after an fantastic trip through the Basque Country, but I’d never added bread. Thanks!

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