Gazpacho Andaluz is essentially a Sopa Fría (cold soup) from the Spanish region of Andalucía. The origins of the dish are uncertain and so is the etymology of the word.
One thing is for sure: “de Gazpacho no hay empacho”, you can never have enough of it!
Here’s the recipe for the Authentic Gazpacho Andaluz.
Among the myriad of variations we picked the most complete one, still traditionally prepared in the city of Huelva and in the pueblos (towns) nearby.
Ingredients for 6 servings:
300 gr (10.5 oz) of old white bread;
6 ripe tomatoes;
4 cloves of garlic;
1 large green pepper, or 2 medium ones;
30 ml (1/8 cup) of extra virgin olive oil;
1 Tbsp of white vinegar;
1 Tbsp of coarse sea salt;
plenty of drinking water.
1 fresh cucumber, medium sized;
1 white onion, large;
1 big green pepper;
grilled bread (optional).
2 hard boiled eggs, preferably bio and free range;
300 gr (10.5 oz) of grapes, white or black;
200 gr (7 oz) of Spanish Queso Viejo, aged goat or sheep cheese.
Preparing Gazpacho Andaluz
STEP 1 – The Bread
Cut the old bread into smaller pieces, removing the crust. Place in a big bowl and soak the bread in half a cup of drinking water. Squeeze the pieces with your hand and, if some are still dry, add more water.
The bread must be completely wet.
Wash the tomatoes, cut a small cross on the bottom, dip them in boiling water for 30 seconds and peel their skin off under ice cold water.
STEP 2 – The Mash
According to the Andalusian tradition, Gazpacho is prepared in a wooden mortar, called dornillo, using a big porra (pestle) to mash the ingredients.
If you happen to have the right tools, arm yourself with enough patience and do it this way.
Bear in mind that the final result won’t change dramatically, should a blender or a food processor be used instead.
Mash garlic, salt and peppers into a paste before you add all the other ingredients in the mortar, in the blender, or in the food processor.
STEP 3 – Tomatoes and the Rest
Take your previously peeled tomatoes and add them to the paste, together with the soaked bread.
Crush and blend everything until you get a fairly homogeneous mixture. Pour the oil in a stream and keep mixing. When you have obtained a creamy structure, you may add the vinegar and mix again.
Adjust the thickness to personal taste by diluting the soup with up to 1 litre (2.1 pints) of cold drinkable water.
Your base for Gazpacho is ready!
STEP 4 – Chilling
Transfer the soup in a large bowl and let it chill in the fridge, for at least 2-3 hours.
Gazpacho will perform much better if served cold, especially during the hot Summer season!
STEP 5 – The Garnishes
As the soup reaches its optimal serving temperature, gather the ingredients for the two Guarniciónes (garnishes) and count a separate serving bowl for each one of them.
Hard boil your free range eggs and let them cool off. Then peel and coarsely chop them.
Take out your Queso Viejo from the fridge and cut in thin stripes.
Spanish chefs are mysteriously reluctant to specify which type, or kind, of cheese to use in the garnish for Gazpacho. We recommend to buy a readily available, medium aged Queso Manchego sheep cheese.
Wash and cut the green pepper in halves. Remove the seeds and the core, then cut into small chunks.
Finely chop the white onion, salt it and leave to rest in cold water for a couple of minutes. Rinse well under cold running water. This method will make the raw onion more digestible to everyone.
Peel the grapes but leave the fruit in its entirety.
Finally, peel and chop the cucumber in small dices.
Serving Gazpacho Andaluz
All your ingredients for the garnishes are now ready and it’s high time to serve your chilled Gazpacho Andaluz to the guests!
The most traditional way of having Gazpacho is to initially eat the top part of the soup, bountifully dressing it with the first garnish of chopped onion, green pepper and cucumber.
Then, without ever mixing the Gazpacho in the pot, old-fashioned Spaniards would go for the thicker bottom part, dressing it with the second garnish of peeled grapes, chopped boiled eggs and stripes of aged Queso Viejo cheese.
This denser soup shares similarities both with the Salmorejo, a variation on the Gazpacho theme made in the city of Córdoba, and with La Porra from Villanueva del Trabuco in the province of Antequera.
There are over 70 ways to prepare Gazpacho in Andalucía and the recipe we provided well summarizes the complexity of this ancient dish.
However, not many would follow the tradition of using two garnishes.
A more common way of eating Gazpacho would be to enrich the first garnish with chopped boiled eggs and bits of grilled bread…simply forgetting about the second garnish. The outcome is a faster, equally scrumptious and altogether legitimate take on Gazpacho Andaluz.
Whichever way you decide to go for, you certainly won’t feel hungry anymore after a full plate of this authentically Spanish and utterly delicious treat!