Cool and refreshing, no other dish says Summer like a bowl of Andalusian gazpacho soup. This easy gazpacho recipe uses the bounty of your summer garden or a trip to the Dallas Farmers Market to full effect, blending juicy ripe tomatoes, cool crisp cucumbers, lively green peppers and Texas sweet onions into a chilled summer soup that is light, refreshing and utterly delicious. Garnished with crisp almonds and luscious avocado, you will want to keep a batch of this simply perfect gazpacho recipe in your fridge all summer long.
Gazpacho as we know it originated in the southern region of Spain known as Andalusia, famous for its long, hot summers-- something that we residents of the Dallas Metroplex know all too well. The roots of this classic Summer soup go all the way back to the days of Imperial Rome, when Roman soldiers on the road would mix up a soup out of stale bread, vinegar, olive oil, garlic and salt. Tomatoes came later, after the conquistadores brought them back to Spain from the New World.
Gazpacho is the quintessential Summer dish, a cool and refreshing salad in a bowl. Gazpacho is versatile, too, with various versions of the classic Spanish soup found all over Spain, Portugal and Latin America. One famous version-- Ajo Blanco-- is a white gazpacho thickened with blanched almonds. Spanish gazpacho recipes are traditionally thickened with stale bread; you can leave out the bread if you desire a lighter soup with a thinner texture. Unthickened soup makes great Gazpacho Shooters, either with or without vodka-- try chilled gazpacho soup spiked with either citrus or pepper vodka for an appetizer with a real kick.
Almonds are a classic Spanish ingredient; I think sliced and toasted almonds make the perfect garnish for gazpacho. Avocados are not traditional, but their creamy, lush texture is the perfect finish, especially when combined with the almonds. Croutons, chopped hard-boiled eggs and chopped fresh herbs also make fantastic garnishes for this easy recipe for traditional gazpacho soup.
Andalusian Gazpacho with Avocado and Almonds
- 6 very ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
- 2 thick slices of day old rustic bread, crusts removed
- 1 small bottle of low sodium V8, tomato juice, or water (6 to 8 ounces)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 large seedless cucumber, roughly chopped OR
- 2 smallish regular cucumbers, peeled if waxed and seeded if necessary
- ½ large Texas sweet onion OR 1 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 sweet bell pepper, cored and roughly chopped
- 1 small handful parsley (about 10 sprigs, stripped)
- 3-4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- A couple shakes hot sauce, optional (Try Crystal or Green Tabasco)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Lemon or lime wedges
- Avocado, diced and tossed with a bit of lemon or lime juice
- Almonds, sliced and toasted
- Optional garnishes: croutons, chopped hard-boiled eggs, chopped fresh herbs-- try tarragon, chives or cilantro
Soak bread in V8, tomato juice or water. Puree bread and soaking liquid, tomatoes and garlic in food processor or blender, adding more liquid only if necessary-- you can always add more later if desired. Add remaining ingredients (except garnishes) and pulse until ingredients are minced and well combined. The texture of gazpacho can be either slightly chunky or silky smooth according to preference: what it should not be is mushy. Refrigerate until well chilled-- several hours if possible. Cold blunts flavor, so taste for seasoning before serving.
Serve Andalusian Gazpacho garnished with chopped avocado and sliced almonds. Or put a selection of garnishes in a variety of small bowls and let diners gussy up their gazpacho whichever way they like.
Gazpacho will keep, covered, in the fridge for several days-- but it's unlikely to last that long.
Buy it local! Where to buy the ingredients for this easy gazpacho recipe in Dallas.
This recipe for Andalusian Gazpacho with Avocado and Almonds is really all about the tomatoes. The Dallas Metroplex is awash in locally grown tomatoes right now: if you do not have your own garden, consider planting one next year tomatoes grow great in containers if you are short on space. In the meantime, get thee to a farmer's market-- the Dallas Farmers Market is always a good bet-- or local produce stand; most supermarket tomatoes have been refrigerated, which severely compromises their taste and texture.
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