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Chilled Tomato Soup (Gazpacho)

There are many versions of what is perhaps one of the two or three Spanish ''classic'' dishes. This is a simple, basic version. It is traditionally served with a variety of accompaniments, such as croutons, chopped olives, cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs and onions. Each diner sprinkles a little of the accompaniments over his Gazpacho before eating.

ingredients

4 - 6 servings
3 slices Brown bread, cut into cubes
300 ml (10 fl oz) 1 1/4 cups Canned tomato juice
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 Cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
1 Green pepper, pith and seeds removed and chopped
1 Red pepper, pith and seeds removed and chopped
1 Large onion, chopped
700 g (1 1/2 lb) Tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped
75 ml (3 fl oz) 3/8 cup Olive oil
2 Tbs Red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp Dried marjoram
1/4 tsp Dried basil
4 Ice cubes (optional)

method

1. Put the bread cubes in a bowl and pour over the tomato juice. Leave to soak for 5 minutes, then squeeze to extract the excess juice. Transfer to a large bowl and reserve the juice.

2. Add the garlic, cucumber, peppers, onion and tomatoes to the soaked bread and stir to mix. Put the mixture into a blender and blend to a smooth paste, or push through a food mill until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the reserved tomato juice.

3. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the ice cubes, to the mixture and stir well. The soup should be the consistency of single (light) cream so add more tomato juice if necessary.

4. Transfer the soup to a deep serving bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Just before serving, stir well and float in the ice cubes, if you are using them.

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