Brunch Gazpacho

Brunch Gazpacho3

Two “Spanish” dishes in a row? well, actually my favorite go-to gazpacho recipe is not from a Spanish book. It’s from David Leite’s lovely The New Portuguese table cookbook. So, let’s say this is Portuguese. As a blueprint it is very much like a typical Spanish gazpacho; tomato based with supporting summer vegetables, herbs and plenty of olive oil. It is all held together and made velvety with a few chunks of bread.

Egg

I like this recipe even though it is similar to many others because of the balance it shows. For example it does not use raw onions in the mix like many others do. Onions, even in small amounts, always seem to stick out for my taste and leave an unpleasant after taste. I like that it uses fresh oregano in the mix, it’s lovely. The proportions of everything is just right too. So, I add all ingredients into my Vitamix blender -tomatoes, water-soaked bread, cucumbers, red bell peppers, oregano, little bit of garlic- and let it rip until it is all nice and smooth.

Bacon-Croutons

Poached Egg-Garnishes

Towards the end I drizzle in olive oil and vinegar and let is blend some more. I also love this recipe because it gives you permission to use canned tomatoes! Yes, most gazpacho recipes ask for peak summer tomatoes preferably of an heirloom variety. Truth be told these things are amazing fruit, but they are almost like unicorns where I live and with my schedule. Sighting one and acquiring it is very difficult out there. Once you find them they are usually pretty expensive and because they are not bred for travel the quality is not great. All that is to say that it really is OK to use canned good quality canned tomatoes. The key here is the good quality stuff like the San Marzano imported tomatoes. So, cheap here will not work.

Brunch Gazpacho2

I make a pitcher and enjoy it over a couple of days since no one in my household enjoys “cold tomato soup”. For a lazy Sunday I dressed it up a bit and made it a brunch course of sorts. I poached an egg perfectly and cleanly placed it in the bowl along with bacon pieces, bacon-fat crisped croutons and pickled onions. I poured the gazpacho around it, drizzled it with good olive oil, garnished it with more croutons and thyme and dug in. The simple refreshing soup, the contrast of textures and temperatures transformed the humble cold soup to an elegant satisfying meal.

Brunch Gazpacho

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VDP: Classic Gazpacho

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One of the few cold “soups” I enjoy a lot is Gazpacho. I put quotes around the word soup because this refreshing summer treat is more like a beverage. It is best poured in a tall glass and chugged. On the other hand, Gazpacho is quiet filling and makes for a more than decent meal, probably because of the bread in the mix.

It is of course very simple to make. Some stale bread soaked in water, tomatoes, cucumber, a bell pepper, garlic and oregano. It is all a matter of taste when it comes to this primarily Spanish dish. Some recipes include onions in there (not to my taste at all), neither is cumin, others include basil (makes it taste like marinara sauce if you ask me). I like some fresh oregano and I like to finish it off with sherry vinegar and a good dose of black pepper. The whole lot is pureed in a blender or a stick blender. The last step, while it might seem unnecessary is to pass the Gazpacho through a sieve to obtain a smooth uniform soup. This really makes a difference.

To serve it, you can go the fancy way and pour the Gazpacho in a bowl and top it with tiny dice of cucumber, minced hard-boiled eggs, slivers of Jamon Serrano, tomato cubes, finely chopped herbs, very very small croutons, a drizzle of olive oil, herb oil…the variations are endless. On the other hand, more often than not, I keep the pitcher in the fridge, pour me a glass and call it dinner or lunch.

Sorry, no pic of the final result. I forgot. Really though, it is nothing more than tomato soup in a tall glass.