I literally had a gazpacho soup epiphany the first time I ate this version of it. Thick, creamy, silky, tangy, and just pure tomato goodness. I have had versions of gazpacho where all the vegetables are pulsed together in the food processor, and I have always found the texture and flavour to be murky, reminding me more of V8 cocktail juice, than of gazpacho soup.
This gazpacho soup was served to me several years ago, at a friend’s cottage on a girl’s weekend. When I asked her how she prepared it, she said it was pureed tomatoes, thickened with bread soaked in a little water, olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic and cumin. This was classic gazpacho soup, prepared the Andalusian way. Andalusia is the Spanish town, where Gazpacho soup originated. I could not believe that these few simple ingredients created this astounding soup.
Now, I feel that I must disclose the event that immediately preceded the ingesting of this soup. It was a blustery day.
We all had afternoon naps and woke up feeling a little chilled, so we made a fire. We were just beginning to prepare our cocktails, when the wind really started whipping around. It came straight down the chimney and the cottage began to fill with smoke. Within minutes the smoke alarm began its piercing cry and chaos ensued. Our hostess managed to rip the smoke alarm from the wall and we opened windows and doors, but it wasn’t helping very much.
Someone suggested dousing the fire with water, but after much discussion, we decided that was a bad idea from a cleanup perspective. Then someone suggested we use the fireplace tongs to lift the burning log, take it outside onto the deck, walk down the stairs and drop it into the lake. This led to quite a discussion about safety. The wind was really blowing and sparks from that log could fly off and begin a forest fire.
Finally, after about an hour and much coughing and choking, someone came up with the bright idea to use the fireplace tongs to lift the burning log, place it in a metal bucket and use that to carry it down to the lake. All were agreed. One person manned the tongs, the second person ran to get oven mitts (the bucket would be hot). The third person wore the gloves and held the bucket and the fourth, opened the doors to the deck. Mission accomplished. The burning log was deposited safely in the lake.
Now I want you to know that we are all intelligent women, quite accomplished in our various fields, but as you may have surmised, not one of us earned a fire safety badge in Girl Scouts. However, this story perfectly demonstrates the ability women have to work together as a team to accomplish great things, like clearing a house from smoke so the cocktail hour could properly begin! After a few glasses of wine, we sat down to dinner and this gazpacho soup.
When I reflected back on the weekend, I surmised that perhaps all the excitement and wine had played tricks on my mind. There was no way that this soup was really that incredible. So I got the recipe from my friend and made it myself.
The beauty of this soup is that there is no need to peel or seed the tomatoes. Fresh ripe summer tomatoes are quartered.
Into the blender they go with a piece of baguette soaked in water, olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, garlic and cumin.
After pureeing, the soup is poured through a sieve.
Chill and serve! While the soup is delicious as is, I love a little bit of crunch added, so I toasted up some tiny croutons and diced some cucumber and peppers.
Yes, the soup was just as delicious as I remembered.
Deeply flavourful and complex. The small amount of bread really thickened the soup and the olive oil created an emulsion that contributed to the soup’s silky texture.