The very first time I tried gazpacho was a few years ago when I traveled to Texas during the hot summer months. It was early in the summer so the weather really wasn’t much warmer than what I’m used to in the hotter parts of Northern California. My hair would tell you otherwise because it couldn’t decide if it wanted to be frizzy and big or flat at the roots. I ended up fixing my hair about 5 times a day just to be prepared for any photo opps, but that’s another story for another time.
I had traveled to Texas for a conference, it was actually my first time and it was for an annual food bloggers conference. I was still new to this blogging thing and had no idea what to expect. One of the evenings I had been invited to dine at an urban farm located in Austin, Texas. They set up a beautiful tablescape with an assortment of eclectic dishes that didn’t quite match but was adorably cute. There were little strings of white lights all over and the tables were nestled where the trees opened up. Everything served that evening had been grown on that very farm, and it was quite the experience. It was an intimate dinner, with about 30-40 people dining, and it was an assortment of bloggers, farmers, and even a celebrity chef.
I remember choosing my place to sit and taking a variety of photos of all of the tablesettings, but once the food came out I almost forgot to take pictures. The very first thing that was brought out was a few large bowls of gazpacho, and I remember looking at it and being surprised at soup on a summer night in Texas. I didn’t realize at first that this soup is served cold. After my first taste, I was sold. It was a simple soup and tasted so fresh. It reminded me of freshly made salsa because of the tomato flavors and fresh herbs and spices, but it was blended into a smooth and tasty soup. It was perfect for that warm summer night and I never forgot that experience. Since then I’ve paid more attention to gazpacho and I’ve seen it made in a variety of ways, however I prefer that smooth, almost creamy texture of the original one I had back in Texas.
Since then I’ve expressed my love of this cold soup to my family. I’ve explained what’s in it and that it’s perfect for summer months, and my family was open to trying it out so I wrote my own recipe for a little bit of a spicier version than what I had that night in Texas. I also swirled in some crème fraîche and added a bit of avocado and Italian parsley to the dish once served and it is perfect. For this spicy gazpacho all you need is tons of fresh ingredients and a good blender to get it smooth. The prep time is only about ten minutes because the blender does most of the work, and then you just chill it for at least an hour. We had a lot left over and I noticed by the next morning the flavor was even better and the cucumber smell really stuck out. If you’re not into spicy, you can always cut out the jalapeno and cayenne and it would still taste amazing! I feel like gazpacho is the perfect soup for August because it’s known to be one of the hottest months and tomatoes are full and ripe. It’s also a great way to use a lot of items from your own garden if you happen to grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic or parsley!
Ingredients for Spicy Gazpacho:
- 1/2 medium red onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 lbs. tomatoes (on the vine)
- 1 small cucumber, peeled
- 1 jalapeno, deveined and deseeded
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped Italian parsley
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1 slice of Texas Toast, or other thick bread
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + extra for drizzle
- crème fraîche
- avocado slices
Store and cover, then chill at least an hour. Preferably overnight. This does make a lot of soup, so no worries! You can try it in an hour, then try again the next day and be as surprised as me how it continues to taste fresher and the flavors intensify.
This is a perfect way to enjoy lunch on the warm patio or as a light dinner. You can even serve this as a side dish in place of the traditional salad. In Texas we had scooped it into little teacups for our appetizer before our main dish, but the gazpacho can be the star too. Add some crunchy bread and you’re set!