Technique: Gazpacho 101

A how-to guide to no-cook soup

Gazpacho is the soup for cooks who hate recipes.

The cold Spanish classic, traditionally made with ripe tomatoes, is so adaptable, it boggles the heat-addled mind.

The Base: Juicy tomatoes are an ideal, tried-and-true base. But you can substitute or add melon, avocado and cucumbers with impunity; pineapple and papaya work too. Bell peppers are a good addition, as are onions or scallions.

The Accent: Soft herbs like basil, mint, parsley and cilantro are all welcome, as are fresh or dried hot peppers. Finely chopped garlic can also be tossed in. Adding an acidic element brightens the soup–sherry vinegar has been the main go-to, but other vinegars work nicely too, as does lemon or lime juice and even a splash of hot sauce. Note that cold soups typically need more seasoning than warm ones.

The Texture: With gazpacho, as with peanut butter, there are two camps: chunky and smooth. A blender is the best tool for the job; if you prefer your finished soup with more body, reserve some of the vegetables and stir in at the end. For a thicker soup, add shards of rustic bread or a handful of raw almonds to the blender along with the vegetables and fruit. A glug of olive oil will add richness.

The Garnishes: While purists opt for nothing more than a few drops of Spanish olive oil, other toppings abound, including a spoonful of ricotta or fresh goat cheese; garlicky croutons; slices of prosciutto, fried in a dry pan until crisp, then crumbled; a dollop of olive tapenade or salsa verde; cooked shellfish; a chopped hard-cooked egg; or more diced vegetables.

Basic Gazpacho
5 from 29 ratings
A how-to guide to gazpacho.
Servings
8
servings
Ingredients
  • Ripe red or yellow tomatoes, 3 pounds (cored and coarsely chopped)*You can substitute melon, cucumber, avocado, pineapple, papaya or tomatillos for some of the tomatoes
  • Red or yellow bell peppers, 2 (stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped)
  • Red, yellow or white onion or scallions, 1 small or 1 bunch (coarsely chopped)
  • Jalapeño, 1 (stemmed and seeded)*You can substitute a serrano or habanero chile, or use a pinch of dried cayenne pepper, piment d'esplette or red chile flakes
  • Garlic, 1 to 2 cloves (peeled)
  • Sherry vinegar, ¼ cup*You can substitute Champagne, apple cider, red or white wine or rice vinegar, or use fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, ⅓ cup
  • Salt and pepper
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  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knife
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large bowl
  • Blender
  • Airtight container
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Optional Ingredients
  • Rustic bread (one 2-by-2-inch piece) or Marcona almonds (½ cup), optional
  • Garnishes, optional (see suggestions above)
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the bread (or almonds) or garnishes. Toss to combine. Cover and let refrigerate overnight or, if you're short on time, let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. (If you prefer a chunkier soup, reserve 1 cup of the vegetable mixture and add it to the smooth soup, pulsing briefly to combine.) 3. If you want a thicker soup, add the bread or almonds and blend until combined. If the soup is too thick, thin with water or tomato juice.
  3. Transfer to the airtight container, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 2 hours. Serve (with garnishes, if using).
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