Gazpacho

I’ve done a small poll, and can conclude that boys don’t like gazpacho. Obviously, this is a whopping generalization, but the boys I’ve quizzed don’t seem to understand the concept: “can’t you warm it up?”

Contrary to popular belief, a gazpacho is not a tin of tomato soup that someone failed to put in a microwave. In fact, if a gazpacho resembles the smooth texture of Heinz tomato soup, then its creator has got the wrong idea.

Don’t think of it as a cold soup, but more of a liquid salad, which should be light, flavorsome and have texture.

Sure. My recipe is a bit on the lumpy side (I made it for a family I was cooking for once, and they compared it to roadkill). But I’m a fan of the lumps. After all, gazpacho translates as ‘soaked bread’ (Arabic) — and as far as I’m concerned, anything that’s got soaked bread in it is surely going to be a bit on the lumpy side.

Make sure that the soup is thoroughly chilled before serving – if you’re feeling very keen, then chill the bowls too.

Don’t hold back on the garlic and Tabasco either—there should be a nice kick to this cooling, southern Spanish dish which is perfect for the long, Mediterranean evenings that have finally reached London.

Ingredients (serves 4 as a main course)
1 kg tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 red onion
1 cucumber
150 ml orange juice
150g breadcrumbs
4 garlic cloves
Tabasco
6 tablespoons of good olive oil
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

Start by skinning the tomatoes and pepper. Pop the tomatoes in a pan of boiling water for one minute or so—they’re done when the skin splits. Pour them into a bowl of cold water so they stop cooking, and you can peel the skin off without burning your fingers.

In the meantime, halve and de-seed the pepper. Rub the skin with oil, and pop it in a hot oven—the skin will blister, and become easy to peel off.

Put all the tomatoes in a blender with ½ the red pepper, ½ the red onion and ½ the cucumber.

Next, crush the garlic and add it to the breadcrumbs with the white wine vinegar and olive oil. Leave it on one side for the breadcrumbs to absorb all the flavours.

Now dice the remaining ½ red pepper, ½ red onion and ½ cucumber. Add them to the gazpacho. Pour in the orange juice, add the breadcrumb mixture, and finally season with the Tabasco.

This works brilliantly as a starter served out of tea cups and saucers. It also makes a super maincourse (with garlic croutons) —but this week I’m having it as a healthy packed lunch. Yum!

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