Posted by: njbrown | July 5, 2011

Gazpacho – Cold, Crunchy and Refreshing

Gazpacho - Cold, Crunchy and Refreshing

I can often remember the first time  I had a dish that I’ve come to love, but my first encounter with gazpacho is lost in the mists of time.  I don’t think I had it on  my two European trips in the mid-60’s that included Spain, but by the time George and I were married, I was making it. Individually, I don’t particularly like the ingredients of gazpacho – cucumbers, tomatoes and onions, but the combination is wonderful.  On a hot summer day, it is one of the most refreshing dishes I know.

According to Wikipedia, “Gazpacho is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup, originating in the southern region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is widely consumed throughout Spain, neighboring Portugal (where it is known as gaspacho) and parts of Latin America. Gazpacho is mostly consumed during the summer months, due to its cold temperature and acidic bite.” …
“Gazpacho has ancient roots. There are a number of theories of its origin, including as an Arab soup of bread, olive oil, water and garlic that arrived in Spain with the Moors, or via the Romans with the addition of vinegar. Once in Spain it became a part of Andalusian cuisine, particularly Córdoba and Seville, using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar, similar to ajoblanco.”…
“Gazpacho remained popular with field hands as a way to cool off during the summer and to use available ingredients such as fresh vegetables and stale bread. There are many modern variations of gazpacho, often in different colors and omitting the tomatoes and bread in favor of avocados, cucumbers, parsley, watermelon, grapes, meat stock, seafood, and other ingredients. Gazpacho has become an almost generic term for chilled vegetable soup.”

While traditional gazpacho has bread, soaked and then blended with the other ingredients, an early unpleasant encounter with stewed tomatoes with bread – a dish served to me in the 40s – made me eliminate the bread.  The following recipe uses canned San Marzano tomatoes because Chef Michael Smith says tomatoes packed
directly from the field are the most flavorful.  It also makes the dish quicker to put together.  The recipe has been adapted slightly from a Pam Anderson recipe found in Allrecipes.


  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut  into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional) or chili powder or tabasco sauce to taste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, basil or cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Process 1/2 cup of tomatoes, along with the water and oil, in a blender or food processor until pureed.
  2. Transfer to a medium bowl, along with remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Can be made several hours before serving.)

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