Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gazpacho

What is summer without gazpacho? On the internet there are plenty of gazpacho recipes floating around. Some even list tabasco and worcestershire sauce as ingredients. I'm somewhat of a purist: keep it simple.

Gaz is thought to be from an Arabian-Spanish word, kaz, a wooden mortar and pestle for grinding or mashing bread (Johannes van Dam: "De Dikke van Dam", page 221. Nijgh & Van Ditmar, 2006). If true, gazpacho could be any soup made from ground vegetables, bread and oil & vinegar. Before the 16th century gazpacho was certainly made without tomato, and was most likely more of a bread soup. The basis of gazpacho are good quality olive oil and vinegar.

Start with a few slices of stale bread, without the crust. Don't use bread from the supermarket! Grind the bread together with 5 ripe tomatoes (seeded and peeled), green pepper (seeded and peeled; bake in oven to make this easy), 2 cloves of garlic, 4 table spoons of white wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar), black pepper and salt. According to Johannes van Dam cucumber does not belong in gazpacho.

Like when making mayonnaise, add about 50 ml. of olive oil while grinding the bread-vegetable mixture to a thick paste. Before serving, add ice cold water, or ice cubes, to taste. If eaten as a full meal, serve with cucumber, tomato, onion, bread and boiled egg on the side.
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