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GAZPACHO
One of Andalusia’s most satisfying gifts to the world gets a creative makeover.

 

 

Gazpacho

By Victoria Amory


 


Photo: Olaf Speier / 123RF Stock Photo.



Tomato and Plum Gazpacho

 
This very simple soup encompasses the flavor of summer. Use red plums and ripe tomatoes. Make it the day before for the flavors to develop and strain it to remove skin and pits. I love it by itself; plain and simple. The combination of plums and tomatoes is so complex and rare that it needs nothing else.

Ingredients [Serves 6]
6 large ripe tomatoes
6 plums, pitted
½ red onion, chopped
½ cup fresh basil leaves
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Sea salt

In a blender working in batches, combine the tomatoes, plums and basil and purée until smooth. Add the olive oil and vinegar; season with salt and taste to adjust seasonings. Pass the soup through a strainer to remove seeds and skin. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.



Yellow Gazpacho
 
Gold heirloom tomatoes and yellow peppers make a delicious, sunny summer soup, one that’s a bit sweeter than its more common red cousin. I love serving it with salty slivers of fried Serrano ham, and crunchy croutons. No gazpacho is served in Spain without chopped hardboiled eggs as a garnish. To serve gazpacho, I arrange all the garnishes in small piles on a large platter, then pass it around the table. In Spain there are ceramic dishes made especially for this purpose with separations for each ingredient but a large plate would work just fine.

Ingredients [Serves 6]
2 lbs. yellow tomatoes
½ yellow pepper, chopped
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Sea salt

In a blender working in batches, purée all the tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, garlic and cucumber until smooth, at least 5 minutes to aerate the mixture; strain through a medium sieve and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Just before serving, drizzle in the vinegar and olive oil and season with salt. To serve, arrange the garnishes on a platter, pizza style and pass them on the table for all to serve themselves.



Strawberry and Tomato Gazpacho
 
In the fall, the last of the tomatoes and strawberries are still around in the market. Sweet strawberries add a wonderful dimension to this classic gazpacho. It does need to be strained to remove the seeds, so give yourself enough time to do so. To make this gazpacho light and fluffy, leave the blender running for at least 5 minutes per batch, it will aerate it, giving it a wonderful texture. Arrange croutons, chopped hardboiled eggs and diced cucumbers on a platter for garnishes.

Ingredients [Serves 6]

1 lb. ripe tomatoes, diced
1 lb. ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
½ small white onion, peeled and diced
½ green bell pepper, membranes removed and diced
½ cup cucumber, peeled and diced
1 clove of garlic, peeled
Salt
4 tablespoons olive oil

In a blender or food processor and working in batches, purée the tomatoes, strawberries, onion, pepper, cucumber and garlic until smooth; strain through a medium sieve and season with salt. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Just before serving drizzle in the olive oil into the gazpacho.  Garnish as desired.



Lettuce Gazpacho
 
This bright green soup is so delicious it seems impossible it could be good for you, too. The flavor of crisp romaine lettuce is freshness itself, and the creamy consistency of yogurt is the perfect base. I also make this soup using other greens like baby spinach, watercress or arugula. Strain it through a medium sieve to make as smooth as velvet. A sprinkling of fresh herbs as garnish enhances the green palette.

Ingredients [Serves 4]
2 heads romaine lettuce
2 cups plain yogurt
1 clove of garlic
½ cup fresh mixed herbs such as parsley, mint and basil
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

In a blender and working in batches purée the lettuce, yogurt, garlic, herbs, olive oil, and lemon juice until smooth. Add a little water, if necessary, to achieve the consistency of vichyssoise. Strain the soup through a medium sieve into a bowl and chill until ready to serve. Ladle into shallow rimmed soup bowls and garnish with fresh chopped soft herbs.



Tomato and Roasted Beet Gazpacho
 
The earthy flavor of beets combined with the acidity of tomatoes makes this simple soup surprisingly complex in flavor. Ladle it into white bowls and add a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche just before serving for a smart, fresh summer starter. Follow it up with a simple grilled fish main course. By the way, in a fit of total madness, I once placed this gazpacho in an ice cream machine and allowed it to churn for about 20 minutes. After freezing it, I scooped it into bowls and served it with crème fraîche and garnished it with edible flowers for a fantastic, delicious and colorful first course.

Ingredients [Serves 6]
1 lb. fresh beets, about 5 to 6 small ones, trimmed of leaves and washed
2 lbs. ripe, red tomatoes, blanched and peeled
1 small onion, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the beets on a cookie sheet and roast until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the beet comes out easily, about 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and dice. In a blender and working in batches, purée the beets, tomatoes, and onion until smooth; strain through a medium-size sieve. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and taste to adjust seasonings. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. ■

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