Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fresh Tomato Gazpacho – Crumbled Stale Wet Bread Sold Separately

I feel kind of bad posting a recipe that leaves out what is arguably the most important ingredient, and such is the case with this gazpacho. This garden salad masquerading as a cold soup was originally a way for field hands to stretch their resources by crumbling up stale bread into a mixture of crushed tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.

Sorry, panzanella, but I’ve never been a big fan of the whole wet bread thing. Even versions I’ve had where the crumbs where completely pureed in, weren’t as pleasing to me as all-veg versions. Besides, some culinary traditions are simply leftover from a time when people had to do it that way, you know, so they wouldn’t starve to death. I call this the rutabaga syndrome.

Happily, most of us can now survive just fine without fortifying our gazpacho with such additions. Having said that, if you grew up eating that style, I’ll assume you think I’m insane for even suggesting there’s another way to make it, as you rightfully should.

Like I said in the video, this is not even worth trying unless you’re going to use some killer, end-of-summer, super-sweet tomatoes. After a long wait, we finally have some decent ones here in San Francisco. There just isn’t any substitute, so happy hunting, and I hope you find some so you give this a try. Enjoy!

4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced green onion
1 large jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch dried oregano
cayenne to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pint “Sweet 100” cherry tomatoes
1 lime, juiced, or to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
chiffonade of fresh basil leaves or cilantro

View the complete recipe


Razors Edge said...

Are greed onions native to California?

Chef John said...

oops! Freudian slip! thanks

Anonymous said...

hmmm...looks like I have something new to try.

Kir said...

Since i'v spent last month in Andalusia...
In Spain they usually add green peppers, not red.

Also, stale bread soaked in red wine or sherry vinegar and olive oil is a really must have.

Often they blend gazpacho with ice and serve in glasses. Soo good.

Jessica said...

Chef John! Congrats on your appearance in Time Magazine!! I may be about 2 weeks late here, since you were featured in the previous issue and I've been behind on my reading. But I was uber-excited to see your crispy onion rings make their debut. And! You had THE most number of subscribers on Youtube compared to the others on there, so woooohoooooooo! Big timing it Chef John :)

Chris K. said...

People arguing about the "correct" way to prepare poverty food is actually kind of amusing.

Let's be honest: gazpacho is just salsa's twin brother in drag.

Anonymous said...

hi chef john' looks great! i love your website. what can i use instead of the jalapeno??? living in isreal these peppers are hard to find.

btw please do a homemade bacon recipe :)

Anonymous said...

hi chef john, i love youre website!
what can i use instead of the jalapeno? living in isreal finding these is hard...

btw my hopefull and dream foodwish is homemade bacon :)
please answer soon i wnat to try this!

Chef John said...

Chris, I'll be stealing that line for sure!

Thanks Jess!!

Anon, use any hot pepper!

Anonymous said...

what can i use instead of theWorcestershire sauce?

Luatica said...

Even if I have lived forever in the south of Spain, I'm not going to go the "this is not the authentic way" because everyone I know does it different. Whatever floats your boat works really, as long as you use nice ingredients.

Just to mention that it is acceptable to just blend everything in the jar and drink it :P Great cooler for hot Andalusian summers.

Kir said...

Actually no, it's not. Gazpacho origins is not tomato or even vegetable soup. It's bread soup. Stale bread soaked in leftover wine or vinegar, olive oil, some herbs - poor man (or soldier) dinner. There are similar dishes all over mediterranean

Ollie said...

Hey Chef John!
Delighted to hear about your success! However, with great skills come great bills and you OWE the people of Worcestershire a proper pronunciation!

Say it like this: "wuss-ter-shur". Pronounce sauce however you want though, obviously! :)

Thanks for the videos!

Anonymous said...

You know, my weekends now consist of catching up on AP work and studying, BUUUT I'll use the time instead to make this♥
Much more fun anyway - making it then eating it c:
Thank you Chef John!

Me.Eat.Food said...

OK, the last time I had gazpacho was several decades ago in high school Spanish class - you know how the Spanish teacher feels compelled to provide a cultural experience, but it's not very authentic! It actually may have been authentic but it was really boring and unsatisfying - devoid of any flavor depth or spices as I recall.

I'm always looking for ways to prepare fresh veggies and I found some awesome tomatoes at the farmer's market yesterday so your recipe came to mind.

I made this today - YUM! It's so delicious and satisfying. I made it exactly to spec and it's great. I look forward to making this again!

Raquel said...

I am andalusian, and I had always "hated" gazpacho, maybe because my whole family drink it like is water in summer, but I will say, try to find Salmorejo (makes alike gazpacho but uses more bread and hard boiled eggs and tuna), it is much better for me, it is very filling and a little amount fill you up fast, also, Ajo blanco (white garlic) is the version of "Gazpacho" is the north of andalusian (I mean there is called Gazpacho, but is in truth this "white garlic"), some people says it is better than the "Red gazpacho", and if you go a bit more north in Spain, sometimes they don´t blend the veggies, giving it a different taste, more like could soup.

BTW this is like the potatoes tortilla every house and every mother/grandmother have her unique recipe :D

Tiffany said...

This is not fair Chef John, I watched your "White Gazpacho" recipe, and didn't think it was my cuppa tea, but then I clicked the link for this recipe, and am absolutely drooling and, in my four months pregnant state, I am wanting some of this NOW!! But I have to wait almost an entire week to get some great tomatoes from our small town's weekly farmer's market. What am I gonna do until then?!! I can't even think of anything else now :(

Me, Myself and I said...

Need to do "Salmorejo", I think is better and DELICIOUS!!

Marta Alberca said...

Spanish gazpacho only needs red tomatoes 4 , italian green pepper 1/2, cucumber 1/2 , some onion, half a clove of garlic, some french bread soaked in water, abundant olive oil, salt and vinager. Cumin is optional. In spain nobody puts any chipotle or spicy, sorry!, it is all ground and served chilled.

Marta Alberca said...

Spanish gazpacho only needs red tomatoes 4 , italian green pepper 1/2, cucumber 1/2 , some onion, half a clove of garlic, some french bread soaked in water, abundant olive oil, salt and vinager. Cumin is optional. In spain nobody puts any chipotle or spicy, sorry!, it is all ground and served chilled.