25 May 2020

Gazpacho in heat



Above: a cobbled street in Cadaqués, Spain leads to a small market square on the bay; gazpacho andaluz w/traditional toppings

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As temperatures climb towards June our Paris kitchen has been the scene of an outpouring of gazpacho, that queen of the cold soups from Spain that magically appears each summer as a primer plato, entrada or even refreshing drink in almost every restaurant, tapas bar and café from the Costa Brava to the Costa del Sol. Sometimes served with ice cubes bobbing on its surface, this simple and refreshing sopa made its way to France and now, as in Spain, it's a seasonal menu staple.

During my years in Barcelona and Cadaqués everyone I knew - including me - kept a freshly made supply cooling in the fridge. So when an industrial facsimile began showing up on supermarket shelves it didn't make sense: with a hand blender, gazpacho took almost as much time to make as it did to pour from a box, faster than you can say “¡Hace calor!

But mind you not just any gazpacho would do. All over Spain, at least, it had to be gazpacho andaluz from the sunny south. Less tomato and more cucumber meant a much lighter color than expected. When visiting family in Rome from Spain, I'd whip up a pitcherful in the late afternoon at the urging of my Aunt Maria, an excellent cook who preferred hers with extra garlic and a dash of cayenne pepper, a version she’d call “Gestapo" and declare, “This replaces all of the minerals I lost in my sweat!” (She also used to insist that spaghetti al dente with nothing in it but parmesan and butter was a "complete food" containing "everything anyone needs to live.")

Some like their gazpacho sieved until creamy smooth; others, like me, prefer it slightly textured. Either way, accompaniments of fried croutons and assorted chopped raw veggies such as tomato, cucumber, onion and avocado add yet more texture and flavor. BPJ

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Recipe in June newsletter

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