Friday, October 02, 2009

The Gazpacho Recipe

I've been asked to provide the gazpacho recipe. I'm going to do my best to reinterpret it for home use. I have made it at home several times since with success, but the problem is that unless I'm baking I just can't cook with a recipe. I can't do it. I have no patience for measuring and when I cook I just tinker with the dish until it tastes right. So have patience and know there is room for interpretation, improvisation and flexibility. I'm going to tell you right now that The Pioneer Woman has a gazpacho recipe that is quite similar and hers has measurements, though after a certain point our recipes take a major departure from one another. Still, hers is good and is a good guide if you need more detail. Here it is.

What Goes In It

1 Box of Pomi Chopped Tomatoes
a real chopped tomato
half of a yellow pepper diced
half of a red pepper diced
half of a cucumber peeled, seeded and diced
a little less than half of a red onion diced
red Tabasco
lime juice
salt and pepper
cilantro to taste
toasted sesame oil to taste

Throw all of the above ingredients into a food processor and then pour a few good glugs of V8 over it. Then turn on the food processor and make sure this is finely pureed. Keep adding V8 until it looks like soup. You do not want salsa here. This is a soup. This is where the Pioneer Woman and I differ. Her soup is thick and chunky. In the hotel we made ours thin. I'll gladly eat both kinds, mind you, but I'm telling you the way we made it in the hotel. This is the authentic recipe that fell on my head.

Once you've got it pureed and looking like soup, start tasting it. It's always different because vegetables never taste exactly the same. You want a balance between all the flavors. You may need more salt and pepper, lime, tabasco or sesame oil. You may find that the flavor is too thin and acidic tasting. If this is the case, I round it out with a little agave nectar, which I use because it incorporates into food easily and quickly and has no intrusive flavor. A lot of times people's food tastes flat to them and they don't realize that they need to balance a dish with a subtle sweetness. You can also add a little sugar if you don't have agave, but you have to make sure it dissolves. Don't be a wuss with the Tabasco either. This recipe is supposed to be a little spicy. You don't want a bland, watery soup here.

So tinker with it until you like the taste. You may also add a little garlic, but I hate garlic like you can't believe. I just hate it. Garlic and green peppers are evil and I rarely cook with them in any large amount. I will sautee greens in garlic, olive oil and hot red peppers, but I always leave the garlic chunks big so I can remove them before serving. Anyway, I don't put garlic in the gazpacho, but you can if you're so inclined.

Ok, so now you have the soup base. You can put it in a glass bowl. Don't put it in metal. It will make it taste funny. Just trust me on this. Now take the other half of the cucumber, yellow pepper and red pepper and mince them up very finely and put them in the soup. The soup should not be chunky. Only put enough to add a small amount of texture. Think of it more as a garnish.

Now you're done with the soup, but you still need to garnish it. Here's what we put on top of it at the hotel:

Grilled shrimp. Pioneer Woman uses these too.
Diced avocado
more cilantro
cilantro lime sour cream (puree some lime juice, sour cream or greek yogurt with cilantro leaves in the blender)
tortilla chips

If we were feeling crazy we would grill some corn on the cobs, cut the grilled kernels off the cob and throw a handful of these on top of the gazpacho too. It was good and let me tell you, the whole thing with all the garnishes was one kick ass bowl of cold soup. It was very satisfying and made a filling lunch.

Now I am really in the mood for this. I may have to make a batch this weekend now. I'll post pictures if I manage to get it done and let me know if any of you try this and how it turned out.

Also, as a reminder, please be sure that you wrap the container tightly for storage and that you make sure the finished product is secured on a balanced, steady shelf. Cleaning it up is a real bitch.


nandy said...

My daughter is very allergic to sesame and nuts. Is there any other kind of oil I can substitute? Is it the flavor of the sesame oil that's needed or would another fine oil do? I'm thinking maybe sunflower seed?

Wide Lawns said...

No, I don't think you could sub anything else. If she is allergic, just leave it out completely. The sesame oil is only there to impart that dark, toasty flavor and it would still be perfectly fine without it. You don't really need that flavor for the soup to still taste good. There are plenty of other flavors in there and if you grill the shrimp and corn for the garnish, you'll get enough smoky flavor from that. I hope you make it and that she loves it.

EvaMaRie said...

Thank you! My Gazpacho sometimes has hints of salsa, I love cilantro though.

Sinclair said...

Hey WL,
I just had gazpacho at a wine bar last Saturday with crab meat to give it the texture.

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