Tips and Guidance for the Young Chef: Using another Building Block—”Gazpacho” Soup

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I want to share with you how I feel about “building blocks” in the kitchen: many basic recipes are included in this category, from which an endless variety of recipes can be made. For example: mayonnaise, pastry cream, and many more. Now I want to share with you a few less conventional building blocks that I have gathered over the years, one of which is gazpacho soup, from which you can expand to an endless number of cold soups—why? Tomato is easy to match to different tastes. In the following link there is a nice, short explanation on matching flavors, I recommend reading it. Many of you professionals have already seen that tomato is suitable to a wide rainbow of flavors: sweet, spicy, and countless others. Here is the link

I truly believe that there are very few people who don’t know gazpacho—a soup known for its Spanish roots, or more correctly, Andalusian, but anyone going deeper into history will be surprised to find out that there are a few theories as to how the soup reached Spain.

There are those who claim that it originates more from the Arab influence in the area that came with the Romans—there are an endless number of recipes and variations, but today many recipes, including the basic recipe that I provide here, are not true to the original, a little richer in flavors and not including bread. It is interesting to note that gazpacho is a variation on bread soup—a soup made of a tomato base and dry bread—what made gazpacho special was its rich taste and the use of vinegar to provide its special “kick.”

One of the nice things about this soup is that it does not only have a great variety of flavors, but a great variety of textures as well. You can prepare it smooth and creamy, coarsely textured, smooth but with many pieces of vegetables and bread—it isn’t by chance that this is a soup to which many chefs like to give their own interpretation.

In the attached picture above, I photographed 3 soups that I made, all of which are derived from the same base that you can read below. It is a base that I have used for years; you don’t need to love it or to agree with it, you can use any recipe that serves you for years. For me personally, it is most important that you understand the way of thinking and the use of recipes that I consider “basics.”

I used the base to create watermelon gazpacho and white-apricot gazpacho—now from here you will be able to go in any direction you want. Building blocks like these allow you to create easily a new, refreshing soup every day—I hope this helps.

Basic Recipe, a Little History, and Recipe Variations:

The basic gazpacho recipe that I love to use—again, all of the variations that come later can be suited to your favorite recipe.

Gazpacho Soup

1 kg clean tomatoes (around 8)—ripe, coarsely chopped

500g (around 5) cucumbers, peeled and coarsely chopped

500g clean red pepper (around 4)

1/2 kg red onion, thinly sliced

10 garlic gloves, peeled and sliced

1 can of tomatoes

500g (around 2 cups) of sweet cherry tomatoes, chopped in half

1/2 bundle of parsley

1/2 bundle of dill

1/2 bundle of coriander

1 bouquet of tarragon

1 bundle of basil leaves

1 bundle of mint leaves

2 cups of olive oil (around 500ml)

1 cup (around 250ml) of balsamic vinegar (you can swap it with almost any vinegar)

Salt, pepper, tabasco

Around 1 liter of cold water

Sugar, around 1 tbsp (or according to taste)

2 tbsp coriander seeds

 

Preparation:

I personally really love and recommend soaking all of the ingredients together overnight—before grinding the soup, I find it gives the soup a richer flavor; one time I forgot the soup for four days and it started to sour—its flavor was that of the Garden of Eden, I don’t know why I’ve never done that since but I have to try it again.

 

I recommend you tie all the bundles of herbs together into one bundle—it will make it easier to remove the bundle from the soup before grinding.

 

Put all of the soup ingredients into a container, cover with plastic wrap, and put into the refrigerator for a full night. The next day, remove the herb bundle and blend to the desired texture—here there are a few options: you can use a food processor, or an immersion or table blender. After the soup is blended, you can leave it with a slightly coarse texture or strain it for a more delicate texture. After blending, flavors should be balanced by adding vinegar, sugar, and salt—remember that with cold soups the flavors won’t be felt as much, and therefore it is recommended to make sure to spice relatively strongly.

 

The soup can be decorated with croutons, thinly chopped cucumber, olive oil, a mashed hard-boiled egg, herbs, pieces of avocado, and more…even ice.

 

Tips:

If you are rushing, you can give up on the phase leaving the soup overnight, and instead of putting a whole bundle of herbs you can put only the leaves and then to blend everything together for a smooth texture.

The soup will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

You can swap out the red pepper for yellow, and the red cherry tomatoes can also be swapped with yellow cherry tomatoes.

You will find bread in many recipes—I personally dont use it.

 

Watermelon Gazpacho:

How simple—

Take the gazpacho that you prepared with the basic recipe—put in a blender or a food processor, or put in a bowl to use an immersion blender, gradually add pieces of watermelon. I almost always add the same ratio, but since, in the recipes here, accuracy is very dependent on the raw material and a guiding hand, the watermelon should be added until you are happy with the flavor—chances are you will need to balance flavors using vinegar, sugar, and salt.

 

To finish (optional)—vodka or arak can add a fun “kick” to the dish.

 

I personally love a very smooth texture for this variety, and of course it can be served with small cubes of feta cheese in the soup.

 

Apricot Gazpacho:

This is very similar to the watermelon variety, but here I reverse the order—I bisect and pit around 10 fresh, soft apricots, hopefully white, and cut them into small pieces, place them into a blender or food processor or into a bowl for an immersion blender. Process them into a smooth texture while adding the gazpacho base—here again, this is a recipe whose accuracy is really dependent upon the raw ingredients and a guiding hand. Add the gazpacho base until you are happy with the flavor; most likely, you’ll have to balance again using vinegar, sugar, and salt—this time I recommend white wine vinegar.

 

In conclusion (optional)—you can also add vodka here, or Southern Comfort (apricot liquor), for a fun kick for the dish.

 

You can decorate with cubes of fresh apricot, chives, chopped mint, a tiny bit of blue cheese.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Michael

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About michaelkatz1

שמי מיכאל כץ טבח במקצועי מאז 1991-לא מעט תפקידים עברתי בחיי בינהם מורה בבית הספר ״ קורדון בלו ״ באנגליה שם גיליתי כמה אני אוהב ללמד ולכוון את הדור הצעיר.
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