Thursday, August 10

I Dream of Andalusia

I've been to Spain twice in my life. The first time in high school, when my peers and I, accompanied by two overbearing chaparones, traveled by bus across the Spanish countryside. Our main appreciation of Spain at that point was the easy access to beer and cigarettes, and my palate so underdeveloped at the time, that I subsisted solely grilled cheese and gazpacho for the entire two weeks.

My second rendevous with Spain was during college, when I lived there for half a year. Needless to say, the second time around I got much more intimate with that hot-blooded country, and I got to experience the best side of Spanish cooking - home cooking. My senora, Lola, was a simple cook, but her food is still burned into my memory. Her stews were outstanding, always made with homemade broth, and probably cooked with animal parts I'm much more comfortable not knowing about. There was one morning, when I looked up from my toast to see a gigantic tail being pulled from a bag on the counter. I said "Dios Mio, Lola!", and she about died laughing. I never did find out what animal that tail belonged to - not sure I wanted to.



There were many dishes I came to love while in Spain, but of them all, gazpacho has remained one of my favorites - something I look forward to making as soon as the weather turns warm. I used to use Ina Garten's gazpacho recipe exclusively. I thought it was gazpacho perfection, but friends, I have found a new gazpacho to compete with my beloved Barefoot recipe. I have started helping out a local personal chef, who also caters small events and parties, and Wednesday was my first night in the kitchen with her. And my first catered dish to prepare? You guessed it. Gazpacho.

Holly is a great chef, and I'm so glad she shared this gazpacho recipe with me. Both recipes have their charms, but this one has the interesting addition of a garlic and egg mash which is blended in with the vegetable mixture, along with breadcrumbs, for body and substance. There are a few other ingredients I was surprised to see in there, but I can assure you, they make for one harmonious and interesting bowl of soup...it takes me right back to Spain, and there is absolutely nothing better to eat in the dog days of summer, no matter what country you live in.

Enjoy!

Holly's Gazpacho
Serves 8

2 cups fresh plum tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
½ cup red onion, finely chopped
2 serranos or jalapenos, minced
½ lemon , juiced
2 cups chicken broth
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup parsley, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco, to taste
Coarsely ground black pepper
46 ounces tomato juice
1 cup plain bread crumbs

For Garlic & Egg Paste:
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs

Make the egg/garlic paste:
Place the eggs in a small pot of cold water, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the garlic with kosher salt and set in a small bowl. When the eggs are finished cooking, peel and rinse, then add to the garlic and salt mixture, and mash together with a fork.

Make the Soup Base: In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, chicken broth, red wine vinegar, parsley, basil, worcestershire, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine.

Pour the tomato juice into the bowl with the vegetables, then add the garlic and egg mixture, along with the bread crumbs and stir to combine.

Using a handheld mixer, puree the soup to an even consistency, or use the food processor, in batches, to puree the soup. Taste for seasoning, and adjust with additional salt, pepper, or tabasco.

Chill for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight. Garnish with additional minced hardboiled egg, olives, red onion, or parsley.

Notes:
This gazpacho will keep in the fridge for up to a week. The garlic and egg mixture adds body and substance to the soup, but you can leave it out if you prefer a more subtle taste.

3 comments:

  1. The hardboiled egg on top along with the egg garlic paste certainly are surprising, but that is what makes a dish great. The things that make you go mmmm.... (or hmmm?) I'm always learning something new from you big sis, and I love you for that!

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  2. thanks k.

    you actually can't even tell there's egg or a strong taste of garlic in the final soup; they just give it a little body that gazpacho is usually lacking. There is actually about a million variations on gazpacho, and one of them is called Salmorejo, which is also quite thick, and it uses bread and hardboiled eggs as well. I'd say this gazpacho is like mixture between the two - not as thick as salmorejo, but with a little more substance than a pure tomato juice base.

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  3. I love that story of the tail coming out of the bag. Lucky that it wasn´t a snout, that would have been quite something.

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