For a classic version, I’ve turned to one of the foremost ambassadors of Spanish food in America: José Andrés, the Washington chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and, lately, humanitarian. WaPoFood originally featured the recipe more than a decade ago, but I’ve streamlined it for even simpler dining. The biggest tweak was omitting the straining step. If you prefer a thinner, smooth soup, then go for it. Otherwise, we preferred the body and flavor — not to mention, it makes less of a mess.
You, too, can take this recipe in whichever direction you want. For an even thicker consistency, add torn pieces of rustic bread (no crusts) before blending. Or mix in other ripe fruits or vegetables from the farmers market; options include beets, berries, watermelon and peaches. Have fun with garnishes: Consider hearty additions such as hard-cooked eggs and ham, as well as mini-skewers of produce. Fresh herbs add aroma as well as flavor.
Among the keys to success: a good extra-virgin olive oil. You want one of these for your everyday cooking anyway, but especially here because it plays such a prominent role in a relatively short ingredient list. It’s also worth grabbing a bottle of sherry vinegar at the grocery store. The flavor is not as harsh or bold as some other vinegars, with an appealing nutty undertone that works well in this raw dish, and in salad dressings.
I always find that gazpacho tastes even better after a day’s refrigeration, so I made a batch and stowed it. The only problem: The soup’s components had separated, like a vinaigrette. No surprise there, because, as we know, oil and water (in this case, vegetables and vinegar) don’t mix unless they are more forcefully emulsified. Adding bread (see above) can help. But I didn’t sweat it, because a quick whir with my immersion (stick) blender brought everything back together. You could also pour the soup into a regular blender for a touch-up.
To me, that small extra step is worth keeping this gazpacho around for leftovers. You’ll want to keep this recipe around for the rest of the summer, too.
- FOR THE GAZPACHO
- 2 pounds plum or Roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks (seeded or seedless) cucumber
- 1⁄2 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or more as needed (see headnote)
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 3⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- FOR OPTIONAL GARNISH
- Rustic white bread, griddled in a skillet with olive oil or brushed with olive oil and broiled (whole or torn into croutons)
- 12 cherry tomatoes, each cut into halves or quarters
- 1 medium cucumber, preferably seedless, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion or shallot
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse sea salt
For the gazpacho: Combine the Roma or plum tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper, garlic, vinegar and water in a blender or food processor; puree until the mixture becomes a thick liquid. (If your blender or food processor is not big enough to hold everything at once, you can start by blending some of the tomatoes with the water and vinegar.) Taste for acidity (this will vary with the sweetness of the tomatoes) and add more vinegar, as needed.
Stop to add the oil and the kosher salt (to taste; start with 1 teaspoon). Puree again briefly until thoroughly incorporated. Taste again, add more salt, as needed. Transfer to a container; cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to 1 day), until well chilled.
For optional garnish: Divide the croutons, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and/or red onion or shallot among individual bowls.
At the table, pour the chilled gazpacho over each portion of garnishes, if using, or divide the gazpacho among the bowls. Drizzle with sherry vinegar and the oil. Season lightly with sea salt.
Serve right away.
Adapted from “Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America,” by José Andrés (Clarkson Potter, 2005).
Tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The nutritional analysis below is based on 8 servings.
Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.
Servings Per Container: 8; Calories: 210; Total Fat: 21 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 150 mg; Carbohydrates: 6 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 4 g; Protein: 1 g.