I'm beginning to wonder when Ernest Hemingway found time to write all those books. So far I've come up with five separate recipes called "Ernest Hemingway's Gazpacho" and, interestingly enough, the five recipes barely resemble one another.
But maybe that's the way it should be. Gazpacho, a chilled half-soup, half-salad, changes dramatically from one Spanish-speaking region to another. Sometimes it's almost a clear broth, other times it's thicker. However, here, in the best of the many Ernest Hemingway recipes, the vegetables are chopped fine to become part of the world's crunchiest soup.
Gazpacho is a beautiful way to set up the hot herbed bread and the cold meat loaf that follow.
The Staples: Make sure these are all on hand: olive oil, vinegar, white bread (4 slices), butter, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, eggs, brandy.
The Shopping List: 1 bunch of celery; 6 medium tomatoes; 2 bunches of scallions; 2 large green peppers; 1 medium cucumber; 2 medium onions; 1 bunch parsley; 1/2 watermelon; 2 loaves Italian bread; 1 large can plum tomatoes; 1 large can tomato juice; 1 pound ground beef; 1 pound ground veal and pork (mixed); bread crumbs; 1/2 pound bacon.
Tonight's supper, with the exception of the herbed bread, should be made the day before.
The Day Before: Use your largest bowl. Mince 3 cloves of garlic and mash them against the bowl with the heel of your spoon. Cut the crusts from 4 slices of white bread and add the slices to the bowl. Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar over the bread and mash all this together until it forms a paste.
Stir in about half the canned tomatoes. Now chop fine the rest of the vegetables - 6 tomatoes, the celery (without the leaves), the peeled cucumber, a bunch of scallions (with some of the green) and 1 seeded green pepper. Add these to the bowl with a quart of tomato juice and 2 cups of water. Refrigerate.
Also the Day Before: The meat loaf. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute 1 chopped onion and 1 chopped green pepper in a little olive oil over medium heat until they are tender. Put the ground meat in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 beaten eggs, the sauteed pepper and onion, a shot of brandy and a large handful of bread crumbs. Chop up the parsley and add half of it, along with salt and pepper and a healthy pinch of thyme. And, finally, more bread crumbs if the mixture seems too runny. Blend this together with your hands.
Place half the bacon strips across the bottom of a large bread pan and pack the mixture into the pan. Place the other bacon strips over the meat loaf and bake it for 90 minutes at 350 degrees. Later, as the cooked meat loaf is cooling, cover it with foil and put a second bread pan over the first and weight it down to compress the meat loaf. Refrigerate until ready to use.
6 p.m.: Now, all you have to do on the night of the dinner is prepare the herbed bread. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt a stick of butter over medium heat and add 2 cloves of minced garlic, the rest of your minced parsley and a handful of chopped scallions. Slice the Italian bread lengthwise, butter it with the mixture and heat it in the oven for 10 minutes or so, just until the bread starts to turn brown at the edges. The bread will be served with the meat loaf, sliced thin. And it will be followed by the watermelon.
And of course it will be preceded by bowls of Ernest Hemingway's Gazpacho, decorated with ice cubes and/or croutons. This should dispel all notions that cooking is not one of your more manly arts. Hemingway, of course, chased bulls and fought wars and tracked down big game and still found time to make gazpacho. That's right, guys, macho gazpacho!