Thursday, July 4, 2019

Summer Gazpacho | 夏日西班牙番茄凍湯

As the height of summer draws upon us, nothing quite beats a midday iced lemonade or a cooling cup of gazpacho. Forget about hours slaving away in a steamy kitchen stirring soup over a hot stove - keep things simple and fresh with gazpacho! Gazpacho is a quintessential Andalusian summer soup bursting with ripe-from-the-garden flavors. Chilled and raw, this soup is truly a breeze to make, requiring only to be made hours in advance for flavors to mingle and develop - making gazpacho an ideal starter for brunch, summer entertaining, weeknight dinners, or even picnics. A refreshing gazpacho effectively opens up the appetite; it is also the most effortless way to get fresh vegetables into your diet!

An idyllic summer picnic at the beach with Jayla; cooling off with chilled gazpacho and jámon ibérico for a touch of Spain! [Gold Coast Beach, Hong Kong, Jun 2019]

Not unlike the other world revered Spanish classic - paella -, gazpacho generates heated debates over what constitutes the most authentic recipe. Nevertheless, I believe we would all agree that the gazpacho as we all know it would typically involve tomatoes, cukes, some type of pepper, good olive oil, bread, and seasoning. Regional variations in taste and produce as well as culinary creativity have brought other interpretations of gazpacho into mainstream, with melon-based, green, or even white-hued gazpacho being some of the most recognized.

In my book, there is no one way to do a smashing gazpacho. There are infinite ways to tailor this hot-weather soup to your liking. Some like it chunky, others velvety smooth. You may prefer it spicy; and some prefer to go without bread. There are, however, ways where gazpacho can go really wrong. At its worst, I've made gazpacho that tasted like watered down salsa, or worst yet - a gazpacho that tasted more of bell peppers than anything (eww). You also want to make sure your gazpacho does not leave you with an invincible garlic-onion breath unless Dracula's in town.

Personally, I prefer to leave out the bread as I find it diluting the amazing flavors. Furthermore, the addition of olive oil to the vegetables produces a creamy emulsion and gives enough of a body to the soup, hence it could do without the extra boost. Besides, leaving out the bread keeps the gazpacho gluten-free and suitable for most special diets!

While peeling cucumbers help yield a more vibrant gazpacho, keeping the peel on maximizes nutrients
The recipe I share here is but one way that I love my gazpacho. I once swapped bell peppers out for a mildly hot, long red pepper - and could not turn back since. I tend to eyeball my ingredients, tasting and adjusting along the way, so use the measurements loosely as a reference and always start with smaller quantities of garlic and onion and add more as desired.

No cooking required: blitz everything with a blender or immersion blender
Pair this gazpacho with waffles for a complete and easy weekend brunch!
Sweet Potato and Bacon Waffles (click for recipe)

What you'll need... (for two)
3 - 4 medium tomatoes
1 long red pepper*
1 Persian or baby cucumber
1 clove garlic
1/4 of an onion
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

*Note: substitute with red bell pepper for a non-spicy version
To serve: sliced or diced cucumber and tomato | chives | croutons  

1. Core and cut tomatoes into large chunks. Peel and de-seed cucumber. De-seed pepper and remove pith.

Tip: gloves are recommended to protect your fingers when de-seeding hot peppers - the heat will sting!

2. For a smooth consistency, add tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, olive oil, salt and pepper, and part of the garlic and onion to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more garlic and onion as needed. For a coarser texture, reserve some of the ingredients and pulse briefly and mix in with the soup.

Tip: for best result, blitz the olive oil together with other ingredients rather than whisking it in afterwards

3. Chill the soup for at least two hours or overnight. To serve, divide soup into small bowls and garnish with cucumber and tomato, chives, a crack of sea salt and black pepper, and enjoy with croutons if desired. ¡Buen provecho!

Do you have your own favorite gazpacho recipe? 
Share with me or leave a comment! #alvinspenthousekitchen 
Find me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and follow my Facebook Fan Page!

炎夏日 最適合整碗清新醒胃嘅 Gazpacho! 毋需開火烹調,不入廚房嘅朋友仔都能輕易炮製。冷湯的做法變化多端,以下是我的 指定食譜 — 醒神健康之餘帶點辛辣,保證另你喝不停口!不妨整定用便攜壺帶去沙灘野餐啊~!

蕃茄                           3 - 4 個
紅尖椒*                      1 隻
青瓜仔                       1 隻
蒜瓣                           1 瓣
洋蔥                           1/4 個
初榨橄欖油               1 1/2 湯匙
雪莉醋或紅酒醋       2 茶匙
海鹽黑胡椒           適量

* 喜歡不辛辣的朋友,可改用紅燈籠椒
裝飾:蕃茄、青瓜薄片| 蔥花 | 麵包脆粒

1. 蕃茄切件。青瓜去皮、去籽、切段。紅椒去籽、切片。
2. 將上述材料放入攪拌機內或用手持攪拌捧打至幼滑再作適當調味。如想增加口感,不妨預留一些蔬菜粒。
3. 放入雪櫃冷凍 2 小時或過夜,風味更佳。隨喜好加上裝飾,即成!

Did you make this recipe? 
Share with me or leave a comment! #alvinspenthousekitchen 
Find me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and follow my Facebook Fan Page!