500 g (1.1 lb) tomatoes, ripe
1 red pepper (200 g/ 7 oz)
1 cucumber, small (200 g / 7 oz)
1 garlic clove 1 spring onion
1 tbsp red sherry or red wine vinegar
2 – 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 – 5 basil leaves
Croutons or toasted bread to accompany
Core and deseed the tomatoes and the red pepper, set aside a quarter of the pepper for garnish, chop the rest roughly. Peel the cucumber and the garlic clove and set aside a quarter of the cucumber, then chop the rest. Trim and slice the spring onion. Combine the chopped vegetables with the vinegar, a pinch of salt and black pepper in a blender. Blend first at low and then at high speed until the mixture is completely smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally with a spatula. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of olive oil while continuing whizzing. If the texture remains thin, drizzle in some more olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary with vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour the soup into a serving bowl and chill for at least two hours in the refrigerator. Dice the remaining cucumber and red pepper and chill in a small bowl. Before serving the gazpacho, taste again as seasoning may change when the soup is cold and flavours have blended. Top with the diced vegetables, adding some chopped basil leaves, a few drops of olive oil and a twist of the pepper mill. Serve the soup icy cold with croutons or toasted / grilled whole meal bread. Bread with olives makes a tasty alternative.
This chilled soup from southern Spain, full of summer flavours, is very refreshing on hot days and packed with vitamins and minerals, as the vegetables have not been cooked. As you can imagine from a soup based on raw tomatoes, the quality of the tomatoes is all-important. Unless they are ripe, sweet and full of flavour your soup will be pretty tasteless. Traditional gazpacho contains white bread to give it a thicker consistency and is then strained. This simpler version serves bread on the side which makes it gluten-free, is faster to make and doesn’t strain away any fibre-rich vegetable pieces. Gazpacho can be made up to two days in advance and kept in the fridge with the flavours continuing to blend into an even richer taste.