Ultimate Gazpacho recipe - bring out the sunshine!

Recipe by Neil Morris - 17 August 2012

gazpacho recipe

Region: Andalucia

Preparation: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes for croutons and egg

Chilling time: 1-2 hours

Difficulty: easy to medium

Serves: 4

veg

Gazpacho is one of the most famous of all the Spanish recipes; it is eaten all over Spain but originated in the southern region of Andalucia. Most people have tried it at some point - or at least heard of it - and once tasted it is hard not to be seduced by its succulent and refreshing flavours. There are many different variations on the basic Gazpacho recipe, some more subtle than others, but the fundamental ingredients always remain the same.

This is my preferred Gazpacho recipe and it based on a very traditional method but with a few little tweaks to enhance the flavour. It is also prepared in a blender as opposed to the traditional method of using a large pestle and mortar, which may put some people off!

Gazpacho is enjoyed in other regions of Spain and some areas have their own versions which often involve just adding a different garnish. Other versions, such as Gazpacho Manchego are completely different recipes altogether and you could be left mystified if you thought you ordered cold tomato soup and were served warm rabbit and mushroom stew! In Malaga they eat Gazpachuelo which is also a soup but is based on fish stock, garlic and olive oil and is served warm. This dish was originally a popular fisherman dish that has since become a regional favourite.

Gazpacho is the perfect summer dish and can be served with crusty bread, olives and cheese for a satisfying lunch or in smaller portions as a starter. Put all the garnishes in to separate bowls so guests can help themselves. Once you have tried our ultimate Gazpacho recipe there will be no going back!

Shopping list

  • olive oil (aceite de oliva)
  • 1 kg of best on-the-vine tomatoes (tomates)
  • 3-4 slices slightly stale bread (pan duro)
  • 1 green pepper (pimiento verde)
  • 1 yellow pepper (pimiento amarillo)
  • 1 red pepper (pimiento rojo)
  • 2 garlic cloves (dientes de ajo)
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar (azúcar dorado en polvo)
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (vinagre de jerez)
  • tabasco sauce (tabasco salsa)
  • 1 cucumber (pepino)
  • Chilled water (agua fria)
  • 1 hard boiled egg (huevo duro)
  • salt (sal)
  • freshly ground black pepper (pimienta recién molida negro)

Method

To begin, remove the vines from the tomatoes and set aside (you will need these later) then cut a cross in the skin on the base of each tomato and cover in boiling water for 15-20 seconds. Then plunge the tomatoes into cold water for a few seconds; you should now find it easy to remove the skins.

Next you will need to remove the seeds and cores from the tomatoes; do this over a bowl to retain all the juice and leftover bits. Then chop the tomatoes and add to a blender.

*tip: when chopping wet and juicy ingredients such as tomatoes, always keep your knife handle dry to avoid slipping!*

Place the leftover juice, cores and skins in a sieve over a bowl and squeeze out all the juice. Chop two slices of the bread and soak in this tomato juice for at least 5 minutes.

Now finely chop the green bell pepper and garlic and add to the blender along with the soaked bread, 2tbsp of olive oil, 2tbsp of sherry vinegar, a few drops of tabasco sauce (to taste), 1tsp of golden caster sugar and blend until smooth. Add a few splashes of chilled water to loosen the soup if it feels too thick; it should be thicker than normal soup but not stodgy. Drop the tomato vines in the soup, season to taste and stir thoroughly and then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

While it is chilling, prepare the garnish. Set the oven to 200C/390F and then put an egg in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil, once boiling, simmer for six minutes and then place in a bowl of cold water. Very finely dice the red and yellow peppers and cucumber; place in a bowl and refrigerate. Cube the rest of the bread, toss in olive oil, season and place in the oven for around 10 minutes or until lightly golden. When the bread is in the oven, peel and finely chop the egg then place in a bowl and refrigerate.

Once the soup is chilled, place all the garnishes on the table and serve the soup in bowls or in a jug with a few ice cubes and allow everyone to help themselves!

This Gazpacho recipe is guaranteed (well almost) to bring out the sunshine!

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