Sunday, August 18, 2013


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.

Classic accompaniments.
In a restaurant presentation, gazpacho typically comes accompanied by little bowls of chopped cucumbers, green peppers, onions, tomatoes and bread crumbs. Each person adds what he or she likes to the gazpacho. But other toppings are admissible! Chopped melon, apples, pears, grapes are all acceptable, the sweetness of the fruit contrasting with the bite of garlic and tang of vinegar. So, why not mango? Or raspberries?

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.
 The shrimp are boiled briefly, plunged in ice water, then peeled and deveined. The mussels are steamed open, then dressed with olive oil. To prepare the squid, cut the body pouches open lengthwise and place flat on a cutting board, skin side down. With a sharp knife, score the squid in a crosshatch, without cutting all the way through. Cut the squid into 2-inch pieces. Drop them and the tentacles in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and refresh in cold water.

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.
Gazpacho with no bread? Maybe you want it gluten-free or all raw or low in carbs.  Martha Rose Shulman writing in the New York Times proposed a no-bread gazpacho recipe  that is a basic gazpacho—minus the bread. However, it is the bread-olive oil emulsion that gives gazpacho that wonderful creamy texture.

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.)

No-Bread Gazpacho

(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.
“What about using gazpacho for a Bloody Mary?” OK, let’s try it! I used the basic gazpacho recipe, with bread, but  without diluting with water. I substituted 2 tablespoons lemon juice for the vinegar. In tall glasses filled with ice, I mixed the gazpacho (4 fluid ounces) with dry fino Sherry (2 ounces) and stirred a dash of Tabasco into each glass. Very refreshing, revitalizing. I think I like this Bloody Mary—or is it a María Sangría?—for sundowners rather than brunch. We also tried it using Pale Cream from Montilla-Moriles, a slightly sweet fortified wine and liked that too. Have not tried it with vodka.

Icy gazpacho granizado (granita). Very refreshing!

“Can I freeze leftover gazpacho?” a friend asked me. “I dunno, never tried it.” So I tried it. Except, instead of thawing and reconstituting the original gazpacho, I turned it into ice cream! Gazpacho sorbete or granizado (granita).

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.


  1. I am going to try Pacific Northwest seafood additions: salmon or oysters.

    1. Crab would be so tasty. Didn't have crab at the time, but will try some soon. --Anne

  2. I have enjoyed reading your Gazpacho Diaries and I am looking forward to summer to try some. It's still a bit cold here
    I am envious of your guests enjoying the pool!

    1. Patricia: I imagine your tomatoes Down Under are still a few months away. Enjoy your gazpacho season. You'll have to come back here in summer to try the pool.