Gazpacho is one of the highlights of summer cooking and eating, for me. Chilled soups are some of my favourite things to eat on hot days, and gazpacho is probably my favourite of all. I first learnt how to make gazpacho when I lived in Madrid. The summer was seriously hot, well into the mid 40s, and this was pretty much all I fancied for my evening meal. Gazpacho is eaten very widely in Spain, and in every deli or supermarket, you’ll see cartons of gazpacho for sale in the chiller.
We ate this every day a few weeks ago, during the heatwave here in the U.K., and it reminded me just why I love it so much. It is perfect for those evenings when it almost feels too hot to bother cooking and eating. It’s cooling, refreshing, nourishing, with such lively and exciting flavours.
This really is a soup to make in the peak of summer, when the ingredients are at their best. Quite simply, it won’t taste the same if you try it at any other time. The flavour of properly ripe tomatoes really make gazpacho sing. Good bread is essential, for body and texture.
For the best results, make this gazpacho in a blender or liquidiser, rather than a food processor, for the smoothest result. When it’s really hot, I often make this in the Nutribullet, meaning there is even less equipment to clear up afterwards. Olive oil and parsley make a wonderful topping, but chopped vegetables are quite traditional.
½ large cucumber, peeled, roughly chopped
1 large yellow pepper, de-seeded, roughly chopped
1 large red pepper, de-seeded, roughly chopped
6 large, perfectly ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 banana shallots, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
100g best quality bread, such as sourdough
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Sherry vinegar
Blend most of the cucumber, peppers, tomatoes and shallots to a rough purée in a food processor, reserving a couple of chunks of each vegetable for the garnish.
Add the garlic, bread, olive oil and sherry vinegar to the food processor and blend again until smooth, or to a more textured consistency if desired. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Transfer the soup to a jug, cover with cling film and chill for at least 20 minutes, or until cold.
Cut the reserved vegetables into small cubes. When ready to serve, pour the gazpacho into bowls and garnish with the vegetables.