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Gazpacho (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡaθˈpatʃo]) is usually a tomato-based vegetable soup, traditionally served cold, originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalucía. Gazpacho is widely consumed in Spanish cuisine, as well as in neighboring Portugal, where it is known as gaspacho (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɡɐʃˈpaʃu]). Gazpacho is mostly consumed during the summer months, due to its refreshing qualities and cold serving temperature.
Gazpacho has ancient roots. There are a number of theories of its origin, including as an Arab soup of bread, olive oil, water and garlic that arrived in Spain and Portugal with the Moors, or via the Romans with the addition of vinegar. Once in Spain, it became a part of Andalusian cuisine, particularly Córdoba and Seville, using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar, similar to ajoblanco.
There are many modern variations of gazpacho, often in different colors and omitting the tomatoes and bread in favor of avocados, cucumbers, parsley, watermelon, grapes, meat stock, seafood, and other ingredients.
Ingredients and preparation
In Andalucía, most gazpacho recipes typically include stale bread, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and garlic, olive oil, wine vinegar, water, and salt.
The following is a typical method of preparing gazpacho:
- The vegetables are washed and the tomatoes, garlic and onions are peeled.
- All the vegetables and herbs are chopped and put into a large container (alternatively, the tomatoes may be puréed in a blender or food processor, pounded with a mortar (the traditional way of making it) or strained and de-seeded with a food mill)
- The soaked bread is then added (optional)
- Some of the contents of the container are then blended until liquid, depending on the desired consistency.
- Chilled water, olive oil, vinegar and salt are then added to taste.
- The remaining contents of the container are added to the liquid, then briefly puréed until there is some texture remaining for garnish. (optional)
- Garnishes may be made with fresh bell pepper slices, diced tomatoes and cucumber, or other fresh ingredients.
Traditionally, gazpacho is made by pounding the vegetables using a mortar and pestle. This method is still sometimes favoured as it helps keep the gazpacho cool and avoids the foam and the completely smooth consistency created by blenders and food processors.
In addition to the blended vegetable ingredients, it is also usually accompanied by different garnishes. These include the same vegetables the soup already contains, chopped up, as well as croutons. The garnishes are served separately so the consumers can add them to the soup themselves. When making the salmorejo variety from Cordoba, chopped hard boiled egg and ham (e.g. jamón serrano, jamón ibérico, etc.) will be placed on top. In Extremadura, gazpacho with local ham is called gazpacho extremeño. This time, the ham tends to be added to the soup in the kitchen prior to serving (unlike the other garnishes which are added at the table).
Gazpacho may also be served with ice cubes if it has not had enough time to chill before serving.
Gazpacho recipes can vary greatly in terms of ingredient composition, texture and viscosity. This usually depends on the geographical location as well as family traditions.
A completely different dish to traditional gazpacho is gazpacho manchego. As the name implies, it seems to have originated from the Spanish region of La Mancha, but it is also popular in other areas in the center and southwest of the country. Rather than a cold soup, it is a meat stew. The main ingredients are rabbit and flat bread, and may also include mushrooms.
In the historical description of gazpacho it was remarked[by whom?] that the original recipe uses bread, water, vinegar, oil and salt. This recipe is very old in the Iberian Peninsula going back to Roman times. Every Andalusian region or comarca has its own variety of this popular food so there are many types of gazpacho. Gazpacho, since its humble origin, was a very deeply rooted food for peasants and shepherds in the south of Spain. This origin gave rise to a wide variety of dishes called gazpacho and to some others that don't have this name but belong to the same category. Some authors have tried to classify all these variations. The classification by colour implies that there is a difference between the red ones (which contain tomato), the white ones (which contain no tomato, but include dried fruits) and the green ones (which are white but contain some spices that make them green). The red one is the most prevalent one. The only thing all these variations have in common is the original gazpacho, in other words, the basic paste made of garlic which works as an emulsifier, bread, the olive oil, the vinegar and salt. Keeping the traditional ingredients some kind of red-coloured fruits such as strawberries, muskmelon, etc., are also frequently added. These ingredients make the resulting gazpacho a bit sweeter than the traditional one. Despite this gazpacho is served as a main dish and sometimes as tapas.
A popular variation comes from the town of Rota in the province of Cadiz. During the times of drought there was not enough water to make gazpacho. Arranque has the same ingredients as gazpacho only that it requires less water and bread, making arranque into a gazpacho cream. Some people add enough bread until it has the consistency of a dip.
In Extremadura, gazpachos are a kind of purée or thick gazpacho known as cojondongo, or cojondongo del gañán, made of breadcrumbs, garlics, oil, vinegar and on the top of that chopped onions, tomato and peppers.
La Mancha variations
Geographical distribution of gazpachos manchegos is limited to the east region of La Mancha, in Albacete and nearby areas. Gazpacho is cooked in a cauldron and is usually prepared warm, as a stew. Game (generally rabbit) is often added, and sometimes chicken meat, garlic, tomatoes, and flatbread. In La Mancha, specifically in the Montes Universales, gaspachos are made with small game and flatbread “crumbled” on the pan where the meat is stewed. Another well-known variant in La Mancha is gazpachos de pastor or galianos.
The weather being extreme, with very cold winters and very dry and hot summers, has resulted in widespread preparation and consumption of gazpacho in Castilla y León. Specifically, it is worthy to emphasize the variety from La Moraña, a town in the province of Ávila. This particular gazpacho is made of the same ingredients as the other versions. Its particular feature is the large pieces of vegetables floating in the soup, basically water coloured by pepper and vinegar.
- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, in which gazpacho is a major plot point.
- "Lisa the Vegetarian", an episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa offers gazpacho as an alternative to meat at the neighborhood barbecue.
- "Me²", an episode of the science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf, in which gazpacho also features significantly. Lister manages to sneak a look at Rimmer's death tape and discovers that Rimmer's last words were "Gazpacho Soup". As he is mystified by this he tricks Rimmer into revealling why he chose those particular words, After tricking Rimmer into revealling the secret, it turns out that Rimmer was given an invitation to join the Captain at his table along with some of the Officers. They all order Gazpacho Soup. Rimmer orders this as well and discovers that it is cold. Rimmer not knowing that it is supposed to be cold orders it to be sent back to be heated up. The officers all look at him amazed at what he has done. This is the reason why Rimmer believes he has never been able to work his way up through the career ladder.
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- González Turmo I. Comida de rico, comida de pobre. Los hábitos alimenticios en el Occidente andaluz (Siglo XX). Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla 1997
- Steven Raichlen (30 August 1989). "Gazpacho: Theme And Variations". New York Times.
- Clifford A. Wright's facts about Gazpacho Retrieved 6 July 2007.
- Kate Heyhoe. "Last Blast Gazpacho: Tomato and Watermelon at Summer's End". Kate's Global Kitchen.
- King Gazpacho, Andalucia Magazine. Retrieved 6 July 2007.
- Cojondongo del gañán en la web de Turismo de la provincia de Badajoz.
- Lescure Beruete, Luis Felipe. DICCIONARIO GASTRONÓMICO. Términos, Refranes, Citas y Poemas (2005) p.71
- You can find a very simple recipe of this gazpacho in the following weblink: Receta del gazpacho morañiego.