Summer is here… well less than a couple weeks away but still, the heat has already started, we cook less inside and more outside. If you are like me, unless it’s BBQ food, I don’t really have an appetite for hot meals. I enjoy eating lighter and “cooler”.
The oven is almost banned during the summer months. It’s like sticking a banner in front of it that says “No Entry” or “Use at your own Risk “. Anything helps to reducing extra heat plus as a mature lady, I do have additional heat of my own so I really don’t need more if you know what I’m talking about!
When you hear the word “soup”, what comes to your mind is SOUP – hot, like real steamy hot. That kind of meal is so requested during the cold months. This is probably the last comfort food you want to enjoy now and in the months to come. I don’t blame you. Now let’s try this again – SOUP – but this time, let’s make it cold. Really?
There’s a soup that I was introduced to when I was in my early 20s’ by a young lady from Madrid. We met while both studying at the University of Québec in Montréal. I was so drawn to her. She was lively, colorful and so interesting! She and her family traveled extensively in Europe and she was the type of person that tells you a story with so much detail and excitement, that it seems you were there with them.
She was a couple of years older than me and it was her last semester. She was returning back to Spain so before she left, she surprised me by taking me out for dinner to one of her favorite restaurants. It was owned by a couple that was originally from a small village near Madrid. They were cooking food that made her feel happy and reminded her of her home town. This is when she introduced me to Gazpacho. Just the name itself enhanced my curiosity. As she explained, this is exactly how her mother and her grandmothers made that soup. It was cold, refreshing and so flavorful! She quickly told me which ingredients went in it and, of course, I just listened and didn’t take any notes.
Years ago, I tried to duplicate that recipe and alas, it wasn’t quite there. It tasted more like a “soupy salsa” and wasn’t nearly as beautiful as the one I enjoyed back then. Eventually after trying and never being successful with my Gazpacho, I, one day, remembered an important ingredient… bread! That was it! A few tries later and VOILÀ, I finally got it!
Of what I can remember, the taste is pretty similar to the one I had that evening with my Madrileño friend. I won’t be arrogant by saying it is authentic because it has been way too long since then but at least I can say that the results are scrumptious and doesn’t taste like a salsa someone has thrown in the blender. Add this fabulous recipe to your “summer must try” list… you won’t regret it!
- 4 medium tomatoes, washed
- 1 cup plain croutons
- 1 large cucumber, peeled
- 1 large green pepper, seeded, rib removed and roughly chopped in quarters
- 1 1/4 cups white onions, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp. Vinagre de Jerez (sherry vinegar)
- 2 large cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp. powdered sugar *SEE FOOTNOTE
- 1/2 tsp. ground Himalayan sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste (I always use mixed peppercorns) optional
FOOTNOTE: To find out how to make your own powdered sugar, click here http://clubfoody.com/tips-tricks/powdered-sugar-make-it-dont-buy-it/