Summer would not feel complete without this soup. And that’s what gazpacho is: a chilled tomato soup. Now, don’t even think this tastes even remotely like a cold campbell’s tomato soup. No, no, no- this is not an overly salty, incredibly acidic, soup you eat when you feel sick. This recipe elevates and honors the tomato.
I was first introduced to this meal back in 2013 in Seville. I had the opportunity to teach English in Spain and as part of the initial immersion I was paired with a host mom. Our hosts practiced Spanish with us, told us about practical things– like how to shop in a grocery store, explained customs, and typically cooked for us. In the morning I would go to the academy to have breakfast and then go to my own Spanish language classes. Afterwards, I would return home where my host mom would have a salad and salmorejo ready for lunch (see picture).
I never had a chilled soup before and completely fell in love with it. Towards the end of my stay with my host mom I knew I needed the recipe before I left for my assignment. There are only 5 ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil, bread, garlic, and salt. Salmorejo and gazpacho are kissing cousins. Salmorejo is made with day old bread soaked in water, making it a light pink, and is really popular in Andalusia (southern Spain). Gazpacho, on the other hand, does not use bread and is a deep red color.
Throughout my 9 month stay I repeatedly prepared salmorejo. As I began making it for myself I was always heavy handed with the garlic that the soup was almost spicy! But recently after our honeymoon cooking classes in Italy, I discovered a really easy way to get the garlic flavor without it overpowering the dish.
This meal is so simple and refreshing, which makes it prefect for summer. I’m always surprised how a few humble ingredients are transformed into a luxurious soup. Be careful though it’s so good it may become a summer staple for you too!
- 3 lbs roma tomatoes (about 12 tomatoes)
- 1/2 cup Spanish olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
Peel and crush the garlic clove. In a small saucepan warm the olive oil on medium heat. Add the crushed clove to the olive oil and fry until it’s browned on each side. Remove and discard the clove. Remove the pan with the olive oil from the heat and set aside to cool.
In the meantime, rinse and cut the the tomatoes into quarters. Add the cut tomatoes to a blender. Then add the cooled olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt to the blender and liquify.
Using a large strainer over a larger bowl, strain the mixture. Use a spoon to agitated the mixture in the strainer to help it along. There should be a pulp of the seeds and skin left over in the strainer when it’s complete. You can discard the pulp, but instead I recommend you save it to spread on toast with a pinch of salt and some olive oil– yum!
The strained mixture might be a bit separated, but just give it a good stir and it’ll combine and not separate again. Allow the gazpacho to cool in the fridge for at least an hour. It can be served many different ways. My host mom served it as is, in Spain I had it with canned tuna, but it’s also very popular with a pico de gallo like topping, or a prosciutto crisp (as picture).