Ice Cold Gazpacho, A Zesty, Refreshing, No-Cook Summer Soup
Gazpacho is one of my favorite summer treats. It is a delicious, cooling, satisfying soup for summer’s hottest days. Best of all, it takes 15 minutes to make and there’s no cooking involved!
On hot days, my family craves cold foods. Even I yearn to prepare dishes that don’t require using the stove or the oven.
Luckily, summer’s bounty plays into my hand. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are at their peak and bursting with flavor.
The intense flavors of summer produce don’t require a lot of window dressing. They shine with just a bit of seasoning and very limited preparation.
Hence, when the weather gets too hot for the kitchen, I turn to gazpacho. Chefs around the world have created riffs on this classic Spanish soup from Andalusia.
History of Gazpacho
Believe it or not, gazpacho dates back to Roman times when it was essentially a gruel made of stale bread and olive oil. Needless to say, the modern version is a lot lighter and more interesting.
Another ancient version of the dish, white gazpacho, was clearly influenced by the Moorish culture of the region. It pairs white grapes and almonds, olive oil, and bread for a decidedly different soup.
After the conquest of the Americas, tomatoes were brought from the New World to Spain and what I like to call “modern” gazpacho evolved. Nowadays, most of us couldn’t imagine gazpacho without tomatoes!
My recipe hones to the classic flavors we all associate with gazpacho — tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot pepper, and cucumber. However, it is not a classic Spanish recipe.
I’ve lightened the dish up quite a bit by halving the amount of olive oil and eliminating the bread. I’ve also added my own Moorish element by adding a bit of preserved lemon and fresh mint.
Regardless of the recipe, the real appeal of this soup relies on the flavors of the fresh vegetables. However, the success or failure of your gazpacho is all about the balance — salty, sour, spicy, and sweet.
Thus, I highly recommend tasting as you go. You can adjust the quantity of chile, salt, vinegar (and preserved lemon) according to the the flavors of your vegetables on the day. Start with less, you can always add as you go.
As with other simple recipes, great ingredients are key. Start with the best quality ingredients you can find and afford. You won’t regret it and your family will rave over your homemade gazpacho! Bon appétit!