Here's my favourite gazpacho recipe.
The most exquisite of all cold soup recipes and a Spanish classic, this cool refreshing soup is very forgiving so don't worry too much about exact quantities. In Spain, it seems that no two versions of this cold tomato soup are the same. As long as you use the juiciest, ripest tomatoes available and really good extra virgin olive oil, you will make a delicious gazpacho.
But do remember, gazpacho really is a dish for summer. It may be the ultimate cold soup recipe but if you make it out of season, the sharpness of the tomatoes will let you down. At the height of the tomato season, it is summer in a bowl.
8 large ripe tomatoes
1 small cucumber
1 small onion, preferably red/purple
1 small red bell pepper
3 slices of white bread, preferably sourdough
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (you can substitute mint or basil for a very pleasant change or use a half teaspoon of dried oregano)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons of tomato paste/tomato purée
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of sugar, or to taste
1-2 cups cold water
Peel, deseed and chop the tomatoes and cucumber and roughly chop the onion and pepper. Remove the crusts from the bread and tear the slices into chunks.
Now put everything in a food processor except the water and blend until smooth. Season to taste. The mixture will be quite thick so add some water to thin it slightly.
Chill for at least an hour and preferably overnight to allow the flavours to develop.
Gazpacho should be served chilled. It is often served to begin or end a meal but is frequently enjoyed as a drink in a glass with ice. More formally, it is common to serve gazpacho with a variety of garnishes which are served in small bowls to be passed around between diners and used to sprinkle on top of the soup. These garnishes include some extra slices of raw onion, cucumber, bell peppers or green olives.
On a hot Summer's day, I think it is perfect packed in a thermos for a picnic and served with a big hunk of sourdough.