The Best Gazpacho Recipe
I have never seen gazpacho served in Italy. There isn’t even an “h” in the Italian alphabet. When an Italian word requires a “ch” sound, the word contains a “c” followed by an “i” or an “e”. Note the word ciao. Anyhow, gazpacho is a dish from Andalusia. Spain not Alabama. And just because I haven’t seen gazpacho in Italy doesn’t mean that some restaurant there somewhere doesn’t serve it to an international crowd.
There are probably as many recipes for Spanish gazpacho as there are Italian recipes for ragu. I have had this recipe forever. It’s tasty–and versatile because it can be tinkered with in so many ways. And a cold, really refreshing soup like this one is perfect for summer.
I call this soup Gazpacho Italian Style. Why? Because it contains several traditional Italian ingredients such as tomatoes, roasted peppers, garlic, olive oil and cucumbers. Italy doesn’t have the market cornered on any of these ingredients but, hello, this blog is called Italian Food Made Simple.
Look at these beautiful cucumbers I found for sale, living in perfect harmony with those green beans you see there, at the outdoor market in our town, Sansepolcro. Begging to be tossed into…something. Usually a salad.
But here are the ingredients often key to gazpacho that you won’t see in Italy: limes, cilantro and jalapeno peppers. I have tried to explain cilantro to our Tuscan property manager but he has never tasted it. (Actually, he describes himself as the product of a mixed marriage: a Tuscan father and an Umbrian mother.)
If you really want to make a really low-cal dish of this soup, omit the olive oil. Me…gotta have it. If you want to substitute the lime juice for lemon juice, feel free. You can also leave out the cilantro if it’s not your cup of tea, and try parsley or some other herb. You can add chopped carrots, sliced celery or diced zucchini. This soup will go wherever you take it.
The problem with making gazpacho is that there’s a whole of choppin’ and dicin’. But just follow the recipe below to find your big payoff–a big pot of summer soup. You can dine out on it for days.
Gazpacho Italian Style
Yield: 8 servings
Total Time: One hour
- 6 tomatoes
- 2 cucumbers
- 6 ounces roasted peppers from a jar
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 small red onion
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, or to taste
- 4-6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Chop the tomatoes into fairly small pieces and place them in a bowl. An optional move: I first cut them in half and squeeze out the seeds.
- Peel and half lengthwise the cucumbers, cut out the seeds and dice and place them in bowl with the tomatoes.
- Chop the roasted peppers and place in the same bowl.
- Seed and dice the jalapeno peppers, dice the onion and mince the garlic cloves. Add all to the bowl along with the lime zest.
- Mix all ingredients in the bowl and set aside two cups of the mixture.
- To the remaining mixture in the bowl, add tomato juice, lime juice, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Puree this in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Place this mixture back into a bowl with cilantro and the reserved 2 cup mixture and the olive oil and gently stir.
- Refrigerate at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight, and serve cold. Adjust the seasoning to taste.