It’s from Spain, but in New Mexico, we spice it up. From my new bookazine, Popular Plates Fiery Foods, on newsstands everywhere!
(Andalusian Cold Tomato Soup)
From Sharon Hudgins, who collected this recipe while on assignment in Spain for Chile Pepper magazine, comes this observation: “Gazpacho was originally a simple peasant dish, consisting only of bread, garlic, salt, vinegar, oil, and water. After the discovery of the New World, tomatoes and peppers were also included. The following is a recipe for classic tomato-based gazpacho, the best known version of this soup. But the Spaniards have dozens of soups called gazpacho–cold or hot; thick or thin; red, white, green, or yellow; made from a wide range of ingredients.” Serve the chilled gazpacho in individual soup bowls and pass around small bowls of various garnishes to sprinkle on top of the gazpacho, according to the diner’s choice.
1 green bell pepper, seeded and deveined, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded, and deveined, coarsely chopped
6 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, preferably fresh; if not, use canned ones and use their juice in place of the tomato juice, below
1 large onion
2 medium cucumbers, peeled
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup coarsely crumbled, crustless French bread
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups tomato juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mild Spanish paprika
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon cumin
Bottled hot sauce to taste
Garnishes: 1/2 cup chopped onion or spring onions sliced into thin rings; 1/2 cup each chopped green, red, and yellow bell peppers; 1/2 cup peeled and chopped cucumber; 1/4 cup chopped chives; 1 to 2 cups fried croutons.
Puree the bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, garlic, and bread together in a food processor or blender. (Process the ingredients in batches, if necessary.) Transfer the pureed ingredients to a large bowl. Dissolve the tomato paste in the tomato juice and add to the pureed ingredients; mix well. Whisk in the olive oil, wine vinegar, paprika, salt, and cumin, until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serve cold, add hot sauce to taste, and use several garnishes (at least four is recommended).
Serves: 8 to 10
Heat Scale: Varies