Have some extra tomatoes in your garden that you’d rather have on your table? Look no further than Jennie Cook’s traditional Spanish gazpacho, a summer classic perfect for a California August. This recipe is excerpted from a chapter of Who Wants Seconds? on Spanish cooking, which Jennie fell in love with during her travels in Spain a few years ago, and to which she attributes much culinary inspiration.
Jennie shares, “The secret, I learned in Catalonia, is adding a chunk of stale bread and a drizzle of strong, green extra-virgin olive oil.”
Still, she’s not adverse to a little experimentation with the measurements in the kitchen, as every chef should add their own flair to a dish. This gazpacho is so essential in Spain, Jennie adds, that “the locals keep this soup in their refrigerators like we keep iced tea.”
Prep Time: about 20 minutes, plus several hours of chilling time
2 pounds (about 1 quart) ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 small cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 chunk stale white bread, about he size of an egg, softened in water
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon wine vinegar (either kind, red or white)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Place tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, bread, salt, pepper, cumin, and vinegar in a blender with a tight-fitting lid and purée. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend thoroughly. Strain through a fine sieve. Discard solids and taste, adjusting salt and pepper to taste. Chill several hours before serving, preferably overnight. Serve very cold.
Gazpacho photo by David Kiang.