This is a recipe for a wonderful chilled soup. It should be served as cold as possible, preferably with ice, liberally sprinkled with garnishes. I first had this soup years ago in Tenerife, when it was still a reasonably unspoilt island.
My holiday had finished and I was on the way home. The plane had just taken off from Santa Cruz airport when an engine exploded and caught fire. We had to turn around and make an emergency landing back at the airport. It was a very scary landing, everyone had their head down in the emergency landing position, their faces tinged a spooky blue colour by the emergency lighting. Fire engines raced alongside as the plane touched down, sirens, somewhat unnecessarily, wailing. We could see crowds of people on the airport rooftop viewing area, waiting expectantly to see a real live plane crash. We fortunately landed safely.
Having survived the landing, to the disappointment of the viewing public, we had to stay on the island a while longer. The airline (DanAir - I should have known better!) booked the passengers into the lovely five-star Hotel Botanica, which served the most delicious Spanish food. And that is where I first tried Gazpacho Soup.
- 1lb /450g tomatoes
- 1/2lb/225g green peppers
- 1/2 cucumber
- A clove of garlic
- A few coriander leaves
- 1/4 chilli pepper, seeds removed
- 2oz/50g white bread, 2-3 days old
- 1/2 mild Spanish onion
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbspns olive oil
- 1/3 pt iced water
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Ice cubes
- 2 tomatoes, skinned
- 1/2 green pepper
- 1/4 peeled cucumber
- 2 slices stale white bread, crusts removed
Skin the tomatoes and cut into quarters. Remove seeds and stalks from peppers (obviously!). Peel the cucumber and cut into chunks. Tear up the bread and soak it in water for 30 minutes and then squeeze it dry. Cut up the onion.
Blend all the ingredients until roughly chopped, not too fine, because the soup should have texture and discernible vegetable bits. Pour into large bowl with some ice, add salt and pepper. Then prepare the garnishes. Dice the bread and fry it in a little olive oil until brown. Chop the other vegetables finely, and serve in separate little bowls on the table, so that guests can sprinkle on their own toppings.
Serve chilled, preferably on a hot day and within sight of the sea.