|Serrano ham and sweet melon top gazpacho.|
Let the variations begin! If you’ve read the previous two entries about gazpacho, you might surmise that I am a stickler for tradition. Gazpacho is not just another name for “cold soup.” It’s a very particular Andalusian dish, almost a category by itself. “Liquid salad” is another way to think of gazpacho.
It isn’t always made with tomatoes (there are authentic white and green gazpachos), but it definitely contains olive oil and, except for the bread, is, basically, all raw.
This week, I experimented with variations on the gazpacho theme. For almost all, I started with the basic gazpacho recipe (scroll down or check it out here) and just added different toppings and garnishes. I was amazed at how gazpacho served for many different meals and moods.
|Gazpacho with ham and melon, with fresh cheese and cucumber.|
These two combos—gazpacho with ham and melon and with cheese, cucumber and mint—could be breakfast gazpacho or starters for a summer dinner. The ham is Spanish serrano ham. The white cheese is fresh goat cheese, cut in cubes.
|Gazpacho with seafood.|
Gazpacho makes a tasty background for shellfish. These could be served as a light meal or as a starter. Cooked shrimp with sliced plum tomatoes; mussels with a chopped mixture of green and red peppers and scallions; and squid sprinkled with pimentón picante (smoked hot paprika).
|Gazpacho with shrimp, sliced tomato and basil.|
|Avocado and jalapeño add a Latin flavor.|
Topped with buttery chunks of avocado, chopped onion and red and green pepper for crunch, sliced jalapeño for heat and cilantro leaves for an earthy herbal touch, this gazpacho takes on a Latin flavor. While chile would never appear in authentic Andalusian gazpacho, this is a permutation worth trying. I served it as a starter before charcoal-grilled pork chops.
|Gazpacho with no bread.|
Here’s a no-bread alternative. The egg-oil emulsion gives this gazpacho a silky texture (but, notice how it is pinkish in color rather than orangy-red as in gazpacho with bread). I used crunchy fried bread crumbs (or not!), almonds and diced pear for contrast. I added no vinegar to this gazpacho, as the tomatoes without bread were tangy enough on their own. I used delicate Arbequina olive oil for this gazpacho. I used an immersion blender and put the ingredients in a bowl to make it easier to beat in the tomatoes.
(Another sort of no-bread gazpacho is made with agar-agar as a thickener. I haven’t tried that recipe.)
(This recipe uses raw egg.)
1 large egg
1 clove garlic
½ to ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups tomatoes, pureed and sieved
Garnishes, as desired: croutons of fried bread, toasted almonds, diced pears
Place the egg and garlic in blender and whirl until garlic is chopped. With the blender running, add oil in a slow stream until the mixture thickens (may require up to ¾ cup of oil). Beat in the salt and slowly add 1 cup of the sieved tomatoes. Gradually beat in the remaining tomatoes. Chill the gazpacho.
Serve the gazpacho garnished as desired.
|Bloody Mary with gazpacho and Sherry.|
|Icy gazpacho granizado (granita). Very refreshing!|
I again started with the basic gazpacho recipe, with bread, adding 1 teaspoon sugar to the mix. Instead of vinegar, I used “sour grapes,” verjuice, unripe grapes, pureed with 2 pounds of tomatoes. I used only ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil. I put the bowl of gazpacho in the freezer. When it was partially frozen, I used the immersion blender to whip it smooth, then let it freeze until solid.
The frozen gazpacho needs to soften at room temperature for a few minutes. Then, use an ice cream scoop dipped in hot water to scoop it, or a fork to scrape it for granizado (Spanish for granita). Sliced black olives made a good topping. I bet black caviar would really pop on frozen gazpacho. Kernels of fresh corn? I bet I can spin off some more variations.
|Gazpacho sorbet with black olives.|