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Gazpacho, Not Soupy Salsa

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When I traveled through Spain many years go, I ate a lot of gazpacho. Some thick, some thin but some crunchy with diced vegetables, some pureed with garnishes on the side. I preferred the pureed ones, with some body to it so that it didn't taste or feel like extra-soupy salsa. Sadly, most of the gazpacho I've eaten in the US falls into the soupy salsa category.

A friend whose mother was born near Cordoba served me her version, which was a thick, smoothly blended soup that seemed more than the sum of its parts. She told me her mother's version contained the usual fresh tomato, cucumber, red pepper, bread, oil, vinegar, garlic and onion--but used egg as a binder. I've made this often, and have found that the recipe in The Silver Palate Cookbook is very similar. Because of concerns over raw eggs, I gently heat the soup to slowly cook the egg, then cool and let sit overnight in the fridge. It's delicious after the flavors have blended and the vinegar mellows and brightens the tomato taste.

Gazpacho--serves 8

8 large garden tomatoes, peeled
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
a few slices french bread, crusts removed, and dried.
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup tomato juice
salt and pepper
2 eggs
pinch cayenne pepper
chopped herbs--parsley, dill, or basil--about 3 Tbs.
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the bread in water for a minute, then squeeze out all the liquid. Mix the oil, vinegar tomato juice and eggs together in a bowl. In batches, puree the vegetables in a food processor as smooth as you can. Pour each pureed batch into a large pot. Use the egg mixture to thin out each batch. Add the bread and herbs to the last batch. When everything is pureed, mix thoroughly using all of the egg mixture. Heat gently until just hot to the fingertips, stirring every now and then. Take off heat, transfer to a large bowl or container, and refrigerate at least 6 hours. Taste, add salt and pepper. Garnish with a few drops of good olive oil, and pass chopped cucumber, red pepper, and onion, and croutons, if desired.

Comments (3)

I have never been too fond of gazpacho, maybe because the ones I've tried had the crunchy vegetables that looked like salsa. This recipe sounds so delicious that it might be the one that changes my dislike for this soup. Thanks for sharing!

Kim:

My father likes it cruncy, so when I make it for him, it's like salsa. I like it soupy though. So do you boil the tomatoes for a second until the skin splits for easy peeling?

Amy:

Kim--To peel the tomatoes, I cut a shallow X in the bottom of the tomato, slide it into boiling water for a minute,(that X will start to curl) then scoop out, cool and peel.

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