Sunday, May 24, 2015

Cold Soups - Gazpacho, Ajoblanco and Okroshka

Gazpacho is a Spanish cold soup from the region of Andalusia. It's similar to the Russian  okroshka and popular in warm weather. In this post I focus on gazpacho and note the differences with okroshka. and ajoblanco.

The standard gazpacho base ingredients are tomatoes and cucumbers. Ajoblanco , sometimes called  "white gazpacho" is based on almonds. Okroshka is special in that it is uses kvass ; a low-alcohol, beer-like, beverage made from rye bread. Typical okroshka ingredients are raw vegetables, potatoes, ham, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs.

Basic Gazpacho Andalus Recipe

  • Fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded. - ~ 1 kg
  • Raw cucumbers - peeled and seeded. - ~ 500 gm
  • Raw sweet pepper - any color. - ~300 gm
  • Onion - ~ 200 gm - amount depends on mildness.
  • Garlic - to taste - I like to add several cloves of lightly fried garlic in olive oil, or one clove of raw mashed garlic.
  • Olive Oil - ~ 60 ml
  • Lemon juice - ~ 50 ml - the amounts, and ratios, of lemon juice and vinegar depend on your preferences.
  • Vinegar - ~ 50 ml - I like an interesting tasting, wine, or sherry, based vinegar. Balsamic is a nice choice.
  • Salt - to taste - I add it slowly after everything is mixed together. Salt can mask sour flavors so you need to balance sour, sweet and salt as in any soup.

Additional Flavors and Spices (optional but interesting)

  • Cumin - fine ground (lightly toasted in a bit of olive oil)
  • Black pepper
  • Hot chili pepper e.g. Tabasco sauce.
  • Jalapenos
  • Coriander leaf or seed
  • Fennel
  • Basil

Texture Options and Thickening

Typically soaked, mashed, white bread is added to thicken the soup if needed. Gazpacho texture can range from completely smooth to very chunky. If you choose to make it very smooth, you can add garnishes before serving. Not all ingredients need to be blended in total You can choose to leave some in chunk form.

Garnish Options

  • Croutons
  • Chopped cucumber or other vegetables
  • Chopped nuts
  • A blob of mayonnaise or aioli,
This is it so far. Updates likely

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