I was talking to a good-looking young friend of mine, bragging about the Gazpacho I made for a dinner party last weekend. She asked what that was – she had no concept of this all-time classic!!?? Sometimes I look at the youth of today and I weep. However, she is way too attractive to criticize or refuse anything, so I agreed to post a recipe.
Gazpacho originated in southern Spain in Andulusia. It is one of the most popular dishes in Sevilla and Cordoba, the major cities of that region.
Fresh ripe tomatoes are the base ingredient in Gazpacho so it is a perfect dish for the summertime when you can get homegrown or local produce. We want something that has experienced the fresh air and sunlight right where we live – forget the hothouse stuff that has traveled 2,000 miles. If you don’t have good tomatoes, don’t even attempt the dish. You also need to have a small (or large) food processor. Here’s what you do:
- 4 red, ripe tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 1 cucumber – peeled and seeds removed
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ½ Jalapeño pepper – seeds removed
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- ½ cup of breadcrumbs (optional)
- Cut vegetables into chunks that will fit into the food processor.
- Put all ingredients into the food processor and blend thoroughly. If you have a small food processor, you may have to do batches.
- Adjust for salt and pepper and blend again if necessary.
- Pour into a plastic or glass pitcher and refrigerate for at least two hours. The standard plastic juice container works fine. Gazpacho MUST BE VERY COLD so don’t skip this step.
- Serve in small bowls or a wine glass and garnish with breadcrumbs.
If it takes you more than 15 minutes to make Gazpacho from start through cleanup, you have been drinking too much, are thinking about sex rather than cooking or are just learning English and can’t understand the recipe. When you finish, wash your hands carefully with soap and water. The residue from the Jalapeño pepper will cause serious consternation if you touch your eyes or other body parts. For men especially, this is one of the times you wash your hands before you go to the bathroom.
You can improvise ad nauseum with Gazpacho. You can add almost any vegetable that you wish as long as you keep the three basic ingredients – tomatoes, onion and garlic. Many add old, crusty bread to the mix. Bell peppers are common and cumin and cayenne can be substituted for the Jalapeño pepper. In Spain, they add a little Jerez de la Frontera. Be a true Bravado chef and invent your own recipe.
For something really different, add a few ounces of vodka and serve in a wine glass with a swizzle of celery. I call this is a “Gazpacho Mary” and it’s great for a Saturday or Sunday lunch.