What's in a name? - a brief aside
“What’s gazpacho?” a friend asked me, when I told him the name of the blog.
I saw it on a translated menu last week, skilfully renamed ‘Cold Typical Andalusian Vegetable Beverage’ in English. Yum. Bet they sell loads of that. Catchy name too.
It’s just a cold, summery tomato soup, but it’s also something that keeps you going in the sweltering Seville heat in summer, when even trying to stand up drenches you in sweat (or in ‘glow’ if you’re a lady), and venturing outside has you clinging to walls and sprinting from stick-thin lamp-post shadow to stick-thin lamp-post shadow like the Pink Panther on speed (you and the mad dogs and tourists). Gazpacho provides you with minerals, vitamins and relief; it re-hydrates you when you’re on your knees (beginning to twig the metaphor?). I think of it as so typical of this part of the world, and as something that really does give you what you need, a lift or boost to keep going. A horticultural shove. And believe me, since I moved here, keeping going has been hard at times. So maybe I should call my friends Human Gazpacho and my own stubborn “never fall down” determination The Gazpacho of Life……perhaps without the onion, though.
Here’s how you make it
You need around a kilo of tasty tomatoes, scalded, peeled, and with the seeds out, a big chunk of dense, day-old bread, not the really open pugliese sort, about the size of a large bread roll or the size of your hand - if you've got big hands - without the crust (the bread, not your hand). 2 cloves of garlic, 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil (6 ‘glugs’!) and 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. And cold water. What else? A chunk of cucumber (if you like it) and a smallish red pepper or half a green pepper, chopped and without the seeds are all optional ingredients, and maybe a small onion. Some people even add a few ground almonds.
The main recipe is this:
When you’ve removed the crust from the bread, soak it in cold water for a while then put it in a blender with the oil, vinegar, chopped garlic, tomatoes and a pinch of sea salt. Liquidise it all, then add in the cucumber, pepper, onion, almonds – whatever extras, if any, you’ve decided to add. Add cold water – around half a pint – so that it’s not too thick, and it’s actually soup rather than dip, and check the seasoning. Chill it in the fridge, and serve with croutons, chopped pepper, chopped cucumber, or simply drink it by the gallon straight from the jug!
Posted by Isa F. Munn at 04:27