Gazpacho made with yellow bell peppers. Photo
courtesy Chicken Fried Gourmet.
Gazpacho is a soup served chilled or room temperature and usually associated with summer, when few people desire hot soup. So why is National Gazpacho Day on December 6th?
Our guess is that whoever requested the establishment of National Gazpacho Day was from a warm Southern state. But even those of us facing freezing temperatures today can dig in.
Gazpacho is a low-calorie, high-nutrition dish, a boon for dieters and people who don’t eat enough veggies. It is one of those recipes that affords maximum customization: Each cook can do his or her thing, and even a favorite recipe can be tweaked each time it is made. The combination of vegetables, herbs, types of vinegar and flavored olive oil, and garnishes is endless.
Our favorite idea for “winter gazpacho” is from Chef Michael O’Boyle of ChickenFriedGourmet.com.
He serves a yellow bell pepper gazpacho as a shooter, which can be served from trays at a cocktail party or as a first course at a seated dinner. The garnish on top of the shooter is a tortilla chip cup filled with salsa.
It’s an ideal recipe for winter, when tomatoes are not in season.
This bell pepper gazpacho recipe was adapted from TheLunaCafe, which also has an e-book for the iPad, 12 Days Of Christmas Cookies.
RECIPE: BELL PEPPER GAZPACHO
6 red or yellow bell peppers, roasted, cored, seeded, de-ribbed and chopped (1½ pounds roasted yields 3 cups chopped, roasted, peeled bell peppers)
5 ounces red or yellow grape tomatoes (match to color of peppers)
1/4 red onion, peeled, and roughly chopped
1-2 serrano* chiles, halved lengthwise, cored, seeded, and de-ribbed
2 cloves peeled garlic
¾ cup chicken or vegetable stock
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons excellent sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons smoked hot paprika
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
*For milder heat, use an ancho, cascabel or poblano chile.
Greek yogurt, plain or herbed (mix in finely chopped fresh herbs)
Large crouton/crostini with fresh goat cheese
Baby beets or diced whole beets
Boiled potato, half or whole
Crab meat or other seafood, chilled
Diced avocado, cucumber or tomato
Croutons (small) or large garlic crouton/crostini
Steamed vegetables (broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, etc.)
The more familiar tomato gazpacho, garnished with avocado and crabmeat. Photo courtesy McCormick. Here’s the recipe.
1. COMBINE the bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, chiles and garlic in a blender. Cover and liquefy. NOTE: Use disposable gloves when handling hot chiles to avoid accidental irritation from the capsaicin in the seeds and ribs.
2. ADD the stock, orange juice, olive oil, orange zest, vinegar, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper. Cover and liquefy. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. If you want a thinner soup, add more stock.
3. CHILL, covered, for at least 4 hours. Garnish and serve.
Gazpacho is a cold raw vegetable soup that originated in Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain. The name is of Arabic origin, and literally means “soaked bread,” an ingredient of early recipes that made use of the prior day’s stale bread. The term has become generic for “cold vegetable soup.”
The original recipe came from the Arabs who occupied much of Spain from the 8th through the 13th centuries. Early on, gazpacho was a way for field workers to make lunch from the vegetables at hand. The recipe typically included stale bread, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, onion, tomato, wine vinegar and salt—which remains the Andalusian style. Since the tomato is a New World fruit that was not eaten in Europe until the 1800s*, the earliest gazpacho was made without it.
There are many variations of gazpacho, depending on local ingredients and preferences. The familiar red tomato-based gazpacho is just one of many possibilities. American recipes tend to leave out the bread, although some garnish the soup with a garlic crouton. White gazpacho is made with olive oil, sherry vinegar, bread, garlic and salt, and substitutes green grapes and almonds for the vegetables.