Many years ago I had my first taste of gazpacho at a sunny café in Barcelona. I fell in love (or obsessed) with it. Since that day I have been trying to find that perfect gazpacho recipe. I wanted to find THAT gazpacho. When I was pregnant my extremely patient husband called all over town because all I wanted was THAT gazpacho! Actually at that moment I would have taken any variation. We couldn’t even find gazpacho, never the less THAT gazpacho. I have tried it in dozens of restaurants, searched through Spanish cookbooks and internet recipes trying variation after variation that have all fell short. Then Manchego, a tapas restaurant in Santa Monica, opened up and along with your plate of tapas came a cup of THAT wonderful gazpacho. I had finally found it outside of Spain. My husband didn’t even like gazpacho but one try of this one and he was hooked. We started going there so often that we became “regulars” and they always treated us as old friends when we came in. Then about a year ago they decided to take it off the menu. I couldn’t believe it. I had yet to be able to figure out how to reproduce the recipe myself. Not from lack of trying, I might add. Ok, well, if they weren’t serving it anymore, what could it hurt if I asked for the recipe? The owner knew how much we loved it after the last few years of serving us bowl after bowl and agreed to share. After getting it home I did a few changes to it that had I learned from my previous years of trying to perfect it. Last week, I finally have finished my quest to make THAT gazpacho. Now I feel I must share it to all the rest of you that crave that creamy gazpacho found in southern Spain.
½ bell pepper (yellow or orange, this really was the main ingredient that I had been missing for years!)
1 medium size onionGarlic to taste (I love garlic so I use about 5 cloves)
Chop and put into blender. My blender is not that state of the art so I have to chop and blend these ingredients a bit first or my blender throws fits and stops.
Then I add the Tomatoes, I use whatever kind my garden is producing at the moment and fill up my blender until it’s about ¾ full. If you don’t have that many tomatoes or want to short cut your time the restaurant told me they use just one large tomato and 2 cups of tomato juice.
1 tsp of sea salt or to taste
¼ cup of olive oil
1 piece of bread, soaked in red wine for a few hours (This was a step that was given to me by few cooks in Spain when I was on my quest so I always use it)1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar
Blend well. This is a really thick, creamy textured gazpacho which is how I prefer it so I pour it directly into a bowl and chill until cold. If you prefer it thinner or want to eat it immediately you can add ice cubes and a little water.
Honestly, this on a hot day, paired with a glass of wine and some bread with goat cheese can make me blissfully happy.