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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Grab the Gazpacho

Uploaded: Sep 1, 2017

It’s going to be hot this weekend. Looks like California tomatoes are finally getting the preferred temperatures mentioned in last weeks Food Party! Thanks everyone for a fun discussion.

End of summer means it’s Gazpacho season. There are many variations of this chilled tomato soup, and I am getting to know them all a bit better as plans for my year-end culinary tour to southern Spain begin to take shape. Like the recipe below, what we think of as “classic gazpacho” originates from the southern Andalusian region of Spain, but different towns have different takes. In coastal Malaga, garlic, bread and almonds are common additions. To the northeast, the town of Granada uses cumin as the primary seasoning. Think of gazpacho like chili, it’s really adaptable to creative personal touches. I’ve added a few of my own to bump up the mouth-wow, including the flavor combinations from last week.

Laura’s Gazpacho

1 small red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley
¼ cup fresh basil
2 ½ pounds dry-farmed tomatoes; peeled, seeded, chopped
1 seedless or garden cucumber, peeled (I still scrape out the small seeds)
1 pasilla pepper, roasted and skinned
1 ½ cups (or 1 can) tomato juice
3-5 garlic cloves, minced into a paste (like we learned last week)
2-3 tablespoons great-quality extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons Spanish sherry vinegar
½ - 1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced

Season to taste:
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Worcestershire sauce
10 – 20 green olives, finely chopped
A few Calabrian peppers, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Crème Fresh (optional)

Whirl up the onion and herbs in a food processor till small and juicy, but not completely pureed. Remove to a large bowl. Add tomato to processor and blend till juicy but still with some chunk. Transfer to the bowl. Add cucumber and pepper and repeat the process. Combine this mixture with remaining ingredients and stir well, then season to your taste with lime juice – white pepper. Refrigerate till chilled. Serve with a dollop of crème fresh.

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Posted by School Gardener, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks,
on Sep 1, 2017 at 9:33 am

Hi Laura!

I've been craving gazpacho! Thanks for your recipe. I have a lot of heirloom tomatoes from my school gardens that I can make it with!

Posted by John Onken, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest,
on Sep 1, 2017 at 10:50 am

We came back from Cordoba and the far superior soup is Salmorejo. It's gazpacho minus the cucumber and peppers, double the garlic, and the garnished with jamon and crumbled hard boiled eggs. You could get away with fried strips of proscuitto. YUM!

Posted by John D, a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline,
on Sep 1, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Ever since I tried it at a restaurant, I make gazpacho with watermelon added. It sounds strange until you try it ;)

Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Sep 2, 2017 at 7:01 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.


I am a native Spaniard, and I acutely was born in a city, Rota, whose residents are known as "Tomateros" (literally Tomato People).

While there are variations to Gazpacho recipes throughout Spain, I assure you no self respecting Spaniard would add tomato juice to theirs. Historically the word Gazpacho comes from the Roman word caspa which is the blending of bread, garlic, oil and vinegar which is the basis of most gazpachos.

The classic recipe for Gazpacho Andaluz is:
1 to 1-1/2 lbs of ripe tomatoes
3 cups cold water
1/2 Cucumber
1/2 white onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 large green pepper
1/4 cup Sherry Vinegar (La Bodega from Draegers is my favorite)
1/2 cup E.V. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 to 3 pieces of water soaked stale bread

Combine, blend in batches until liquefied, chill

Serve with: Finely Chopped Boiled Egg, Diced Cucumber, Homemade Croutons (Day-old Bread Fried in Olive Oil & Garlic) or torn bread.

The density of Gazpacho is worthy of a family fight (by adding the soaked bread it becomes thicker). My aunts Pilar, Rosa and Josefina all add bread to their Gazpacho as did their mother (my grandmother) Antonia (who was from Sevilla). On the other hand my mom, Dolores, and aunts Lucia, Antonia and Felica all make their Gazpacho without the added bread. In fact Tia Lucia's is thinned further with more water (don't even get the Aunties started about that)

And as John Onken pointed out, Salmorejo is a thicker (sans the extra water and cucumber) version of this soup from Granada.

Tomato Juice, Parsley, Jalapeno and Pasilla peppers have no place in Gazpacho.

I have attached a link in Spanish to the history of Gazpacho and it's local variation in Spain. Penelope Casas excellent book "The Food and Wines of Spain" is an excellent source of AUTHENTIC and delicious Spanish recipes.

During the summer my family here makes Gazpacho every week, and we enjoy a bowl or mug of it to refresh the day.

I hope this clarifies the issue of true Gazpacho and it's origins.

Saludos y Aprovecha!

Roy Thiele-Sardiña

Web Link

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Sep 2, 2017 at 9:27 am

Love the additions, thank you everyone. Coincidentally, this month's Food and Wine magazine is on Spain and Jose' Andres food travels around the country, with a special focus on the southern region of Andalusia. Saludos y Aprovecha! (google translated to Greetings and Enjoy!) (Roy - is this like the food greeting "mangia" in Italian or "bon appetit" in French?)

Posted by blatt, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Sep 7, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Try the gazpacho at Bistro Vida in Menlo Park--it's EXCELLENT!

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