Saturday was hot and muggy. The kind of day that makes it hard to imagine it will get cold around here. But we’ve also lived here long enough to know that there’s a pretty good chance it will (in fact, I googled it and the average December sees zero (32 F) as a high. No need to contemplate the lows). That’s why we found ourselves on a hot and muggy day planning our Christmas holiday in Seville. There is only one thing you can eat while you are planning your Christmas holiday in Seville on a hot and muggy day – gazpacho, Andalusia’s signature dish.
Simple is best for gazpacho, as far as I am concerned. No stocks or tinned tomato juice; no food processors, blenders, bread crumbs or soaked, stale bread. Just fresh, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers (the ones in this soup came from my garden), garlic, peppers, herbs and seasoning. A few homemade croutons and some chopped chives for garnish. And, last but not least, enough time in a cold fridge to let the flavours meld.
I think it could just about be as good as a trip to Seville, but I’ll let you know for sure in January.
8 large ripe field tomatoes
2 cucumbers, finely diced
2 small (or, 1 large) Spanish onions, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced (remove seeds for a milder gazpacho)
4 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Splash sherry vinegar (or, red wine vinegar)
A few drops Tabasco sauce (optional)
Coarse kosher salt
Roughly chop and process tomatoes through a food mill to remove seeds and skins and create a smooth puree. Add diced vegetables and chopped parsley to puree. Roughly chop garlic, sprinkle with coarse Kosher salt and make into a paste using the flat of your chef’s knife blade (or, mix in a mortar and pestle. The salt acts as an abrasive). Add garlic paste to soup. Taste. Add sherry vinegar (more or less to taste) Season with salt and pepper. Add Tabasco, if using. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight (preferred) to meld flavours. Served chilled with croutons sprinkled on top. Keeps for one day in the fridge.