There is no soup as divine on a blazing hot summer’s day as a chilled, tangy and flavoursome gazpacho, a melange of chopped vegetables and herbs which hails from southern Spain’s Andalusia region. What I adore about this soup, aside from its addictive aroma and flavour, is the fact that no cooking and stock are required, and that gazpacho is, in effect, a part-liquidised salad. For anyone in a rush, it could be a quick meal, served with crusty, buttered bread.

The only trouble with making gazpacho is that however much I produce in the hopes of returning to it often as a snack, the refrigerated bowl rapidly empties because, well, the soup is so darned yummy.

  • Tomatoes, 5 or 6, ripe, and large
  • Green pepper, 1, large
  • Red pepper, 1, large
  • Spanish onion, 1, medium, chopped
  • Garlic, 1 tsp, minced
  • English cucumber, 1, large, chopped
  • Celery stick, 1, chopped
  • Green or red chilli or jalapeno, 1, remove seeds and chop
  • Coriander or cilantro, 1 large bunch, chopped finely
  • Tomato juice, about 3 cups
  • Tomato paste, 1 small can
  • Balsamic vinegar, about 2 tbsp (to taste)
  • Red wine vinegar, 1-2 tbsp (to taste)
  • Lime juice, to taste
  • Olive oil, extra virgin, about 3-4 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bread, day old, a few slices chopped into squares
  1. Blanch the tomatoes in freshly boiled water for 1 minute and remove skin
  2. Chop tomatoes, peppers, onion, cucumber, celery and chilli
  3. As you cut up the above, reserve a quarter of each, cubed attractively, in a separate bowl to use as a garnish
  4. In a blender, add the chopped vegetables and cilantro (ignoring the 1/4s of each put aside) with about a cup of tomato juice and all the paste. Whizz till smooth, adding more juice as needed – I used about 3 cups in this recipe
  5. As you blend, watch the colour if you prefer it to be a red gazpacho (it could quite easily be a green one easy with so many green ingredients)
  6. Add the vinegars and olive oil , tablespoon by tablespoon, tasting after each one. It’s easy to add vinegar and lime juice but hard to remove them if the dish is overzealously zested
  7. If the soup needs sweetening, you could add some honey or a teaspoon of brown sugar
  8. Taste and season with salt, pepper and lemon or lime juice as required
  9. Refrigerate overnight or for a few hours to allow the flavours to meld
  10. To make the croutons, spread the bread squares on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle a bit of sea salt over them. Bake in a preheated 200C overn for about 6-10 minutes, watching them closely so they only go golden brown and don’t burn
  11. To serve, scoop into bowls, sprinkle the croutons and reserved chopped veg and cilantro over the soup. It’s also delicious with a couple of splashes of smoky tabasco sauce. Enjoy!

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