Gazpacho is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup, originating in the southern region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is widely consumed throughout Spain, neighboring Portugal (where it is known as gaspacho) and parts of Latin America. Gazpacho is mostly consumed during the summer months, due to its cold temperature and acidic bite.
Ingredients and preparation
In Andalusia, most gazpacho recipes typically include stale bread, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, wine vinegar, and salt. Some may also include onion. Traditionally, gazpacho is made by pounding the vegetables using a mortar and pestle. This method is still sometimes favoured as it helps keep the gazpacho cool and avoids the completely smooth consistency, and foam, created by blenders and food processors.
In addition to the blended vegetable ingredients, it is also usually accompanied by different garnishes. These include the same vegetables the soup already contains, chopped up, as well as croutons. The garnishes are served separately so the consumer can add them to the soup himself. When making the salmorejo variety from Cordoba, chopped hard boiled egg and ham (e.g. jamón serrano, jamón ibérico, etc.) will be placed on top. In Extremadura, gazpacho with local ham is called gazpacho extremeño. This time, the ham tends to be added to the soup in the kitchen prior to serving (unlike the other garnishes which are added at the table).
Gazpacho may also be served with ice cubes if it has not had enough time to chill before serving.
Gazpacho recipes can vary greatly in terms of ingredient composition, texture and viscosity. This usually depends on the geographical location as well as family traditions. Similar cold raw soups such as salmorejo, porra antequerana and ajoblanco, are also popular in Andalusia, although not as widespread as gazpacho.
A completely different dish to traditional gazpacho is gazpacho manchego. As the name implies, it seems to have originated from the Spanish region of La Mancha, but it is also popular in other areas in the center and southwest of the country. Rather than a cold soup, it is a meat stew. The main ingredients are rabbit and flat bread, and may also include mushrooms.
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Gazpacho Recipes, www.spain-recipes.com