Saturday, August 12, 2017

GAZPACHO WITHOUT TOMATOES?

Last year by mid-August, I was in tomato heaven, enjoying gazpacho daily and stashing garden tomatoes in the freezer for sofrito futures. This has been a disappointing year for tomatoes. I haven’t made a single gazpacho so far. I could buy tomatoes, sure, but they would never match the incomparable flavor of the home-grown ones.


Last year, tomatoes from the garden. This year, zilch.

But, while I’m bereft of tomatoes (and cucumbers and peppers, too), I’ve got a basket full of sweet pears. Maybe I could make gazpacho with pears in place of tomatoes?

Pears to replace tomatoes in gazpacho?

By my own definition, gazpacho requires only bread, garlic and olive oil and it doesn’t have to be red. Tomatoes and other fruits of the vegetable garden are modern additions to what is a very ancient peasant food. (Although, I have been pretty strident on what gazpacho doesn’t include: no tomato juice; no canned tomatoes; no tomatoes dropped in boiling water to facilitate peeling them; no ketchup; no chicken stock or beef stock; no pepper or chile; no salsa; no beets or watermelon or strawberries.)

So, pear gazpacho it is. With the addition of ground almond meal, it has similarities to ajo blanco, a white garlic gazpacho made with almonds. While gazpacho is a savory cold soup, served as an aperitif, this one, with some tweaking, makes an excellent dessert!

Gazpacho needs a garnish, both for visual and textural contrast. Crispy croutons are good. Crunchy chopped scallions would go with the sweet pears. In honor of the tomatoes I have not got, I used chopped cherry tomatoes plus a little shredded basil.

Chilled pear gazpacho served with chopped cherry tomatoes and sprigs of basil.

Serve with crispy croutons or bread sticks.

Olive oil and bread give the gazpacho a creamy texture.

Pear Gazpacho
Gazpacho de Peras

Makes 4 (½ -cup) servings.

Pears, almond meal, garlic, bread.
½ cup bread crumbs (1 slice, crusts removed)
Water
2 cups diced pears (4 pears)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup unsweetened ground almonds
3 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon aguardiente (anisette liqueur, optional)
Tomatoes and basil leaves to garnish



To make a sweet dessert pear gazpacho, omit the garlic and salt. Replace the vinegar with 1 tablespoon of honey. Use ¼ cup cream in place of the olive oil. Add a pinch of cinnamon or allspice. Blend the pears with bread, as for the savory gazpacho.

Place the crumbs in a small bowl and add ½ cup water. Soak the bread 10 minutes to soften. Squeeze out the bread.

Place the pears in a blender with the lemon juice (to prevent fruit from turning dark). Add the bread, ground almonds, garlic and salt. Blend until smooth. Add  the oil, vinegar and anisette if using. Blend to emulsify to a creamy texture. Blend in ½ cup water. Chill the gazpacho.

Stir the gazpacho before serving. (Add additional water if gazpacho seems too thick.) Serve the gazpacho in small cups, garnished with chopped tomatoes and shredded basil.








Follow the five-part “Gazpacho Diaries” for just about everything you ever wanted to know about gazpacho. A recipe for traditional Andalusian gazpacho is here.

More variations on gazpacho:

More recipes with pears: 

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