Most people typically think of soup as a comfort food during the cold winter months. I definitely fall into that category of people and hardly ever give soup a second thought in the summer, unless it’s from a can and an “emergency” when the fridge is empty in between grocery store runs.
Case in point, cold soups don’t get the credit they deserve, and in reality could be a refreshing addition to your summertime repertoire. One example is gazpacho, a traditional tomato-based soup from the Andalucía region of southern Spain that takes full advantage of all of the beautiful produce available this time of year.
With temperatures at their peak, I decided to shake things up during a recent gathering with friends and try out this recipe (with a few modifications) for traditional Andalucian gazpacho. Guilty as charged, I’ve actually had the recipe filed away for years, originally tearing it out of a visitors magazine that my grandparents picked up during a trip to Sevilla. Paired with Spanish wine, hearty bread and a few other tapas, it proved to be perfect for a hot summer night on the patio.
Makes 8-10 servings
For the soup:
4 large tomatoes
1 green pepper (I used a pasilla pepper with a milder heat)
1 large cucumber
1 large red bell pepper (optional for additional color and flavor)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water
2 cups bread, diced and dried overnight
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for serving
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Fresh cracked pepper (optional)
For the topping:
1/2 large cucumber, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup bread, diced and dried overnight
- Roughly chop tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and garlic and add to a blender with water, pureeing ingredients until no chunks remain. You may have to work in batches depending on the size of your blender.
- Add the bread, olive oil, vinegar and salt and continue to puree until the mixture is completely smooth. (Note: The consistency should be think and not watery, however if the mixture is too thick, you can thin it with additional water a tablespoon at a time.)
- To make the topping, combine cucumber and pepper in a bowl and set aside. Place bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes, then place in a separate bowl when cooled.
- Serve soup immediately or refrigerate and serve within a few of hours after chilled.
- Just before serving, top each bowl with a few spoonfuls of the cucumber and pepper mixture, along with some bread crumbs and drizzle with additional olive oil if desired.