I’m pretty much an acid freak. My favorite wines are high-acid rieslings, I’ve been known to sip aged balsamic like it’s single malt, and I live for unsweetened lemonade. Oh yeah, and I have a big Spanish crush on José Andres. So I was fated to fall in love with the man’s Cold Andalucian Gazpacho. My sister and I made up another huge batch last night and, lord help us, had two bowls each. During the week I don’t bother with the bread crumbs, but if you have the extra time, they’re a delicious addition. This recipe is completely guilt-free, easy and with huge flavor payoff. You’ll want to make this as many times this month as possible with the ripest tomatoes available. José’s recipe calls for ripe plum tomatoes, but I’ve been using heirlooms from the green market. And, because you really are going to make this again and again, look for a rich oloroso like Sandeman 20-Year-Old Royal Rich Old Oloroso. It’s worth the $23/500ml.
Andalucian Cold Tomato Soup
From José Made in Spain
For the soup:
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup Oloroso sherry
¾ cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
For the garnish:
2 1 inch-thick slices rustic bread
¼ cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
½ cucumber, diced
½ green bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Sea salt to taste
To make the soup, combine the cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, sherry, olive oil and 2 cups of water in a food processor or blender. Puree the ingredients until everything is well blended into a thick pink liquid. Pour the gazpacho through a medium-hole strainer into a pitcher. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
For the garnish: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and toss in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Set the croutons aside to cool.
To serve, pour the chilled soup into cups or bowls. Top with croutons, cucumbers and peppers. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.