There are as many versions of this refreshing soup as there are families in southern Spain. Every home prepares this cool blend of vegetables with a different twist. This is a simple, basic recipe that almost anyone can prepare in minutes.
"Gazpacho has ancient roots. There are a number of theories of its origin, including as an Arab soup of bread, olive oil, water and garlic that arrived in Spain with the Moors, or via the Romans with the addition of vinegar. Once in Spain it became a part of Andalusian cuisine, particularly Seville, using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar, similar to ajoblanco. Tomato was added to the recipe in the 1700s. Although Cortez found tomatoes growing in Montezuma’s gardens in 1519, and it became part of the culinary bounty brought back to Spain by the 16th-century conquistadors, as part of the Nightshade family of plants it was deemed poisonous and relegated to decorative plant status. A famine in Italy 200 years later caused starving peasants to eat the tomatoes to no ill effect, and the tomato entered the European culinary tradition. Gazpacho remained popular with field hands as a way to cool off during the summer and to use available ingredients such as fresh vegetables and stale bread. There are many modern variations of gazpacho, often in different colors and omitting the tomatoes and bread in favor of avocados, cucumbers, parsley, watermelon, grapes, meat stock, seafood, and other ingredients. Gazpacho has become an almost generic term for chilled vegetable soup." (Quoted from Wikipedia, Gazpacho)
2 lbs of ripe tomatoes (or 1 bottle of tomato juice, 34 fl. oz.)
1 small Vidalia or sweet onion
2 celery stalks
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
¼ cup of olive oil
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Parsley or fresh basil to garnish
Croutons to garnish
Dip the tomatoes in boiling water for about thirty seconds, then place immediately in cold water to cool. Peel away and discard the skins. Place tomatoes in a blender or food processor and puree. If you prefer, you can use any quality brand of ready-made tomato juice. If you choose to do that, do not add extra salt.
Chop the onion into small squares.
Peel the cucumber and chop into small squares.
Peel away the fibrous strings of the celery stalk and chop finely.
Clean out the seeds of both bell peppers and chop into small squares.
Crush the garlic.
Mix the onion, cucumber, celery, peppers and garlic in a large bowl.
Mix in the tomato puree (or tomato juice).
Add the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, stirring the mix briefly.
Cover and chill for one or two hours before serving.
Garnish with croutons, parsley and/or basil. To chill it further, some like to add an ice cube or two. Serve with a side of crusty bread.