In search of the perfect gazpacho

The soup, not the Doper (whose name explained a lot of very unrelated hits when I first searched the archives :wink: ).

I have just chowed down on a bowlful from the local grocery store. Their gazpacho is perhaps the most consistently to-my-taste stuff I’ve ever had. However it’s quite pricey and only available when the in-store chef decides to make it. It’s chunky, rather than the pureed variety I’ve seen some places, with nice tomatoey / spicy “broth”, and just a hint of sweetness.

I had some recently from Trader Joe’s and it was possibly the worst I’ve ever eaten. It was chunky, yeah, and it was red, but that was the only way it resembled the real stuff. No tomato flavor whatsoever, instead it was a nasty, vile, BITTER concoction that I literally could not eat.

I have yet to find a recipe that comes even remotely close to producing what I’m jonesing for here. HELP ME :slight_smile:

I like the recipe in Cooks Illustrated’s Best Recipe Book. Tangy and deep. If it’s too chunky and crunchy for your taste, then separate a quarter of it, stick it in the blender for a few seconds, and mix it back in.

Also, a good friend made an amazing variation on gazpacho for us a couple of weeks ago. Took the gazpacho base, pureed it into juice, mixed it with gelatin, chilled it, and topped the result with avocado cream. Yum. Apparently he got the idea from a Robuchon recipe.

Basic Gazpacho

For each meal-sized serving:

1/2 cucumber
1 tomato or 1 small can V-8 or tomato juice. Or some of each.
1/4 bell pepper
1/8 onion
1 tsp vinegar
dash worcestershire sauce

Run through a food processor or blender.

Variations:

  • Food processor gives coarser results than blender. If you want chunkier, dice some of the vegetables and add them after processing the rest.
  • Using tomato results in a fluffier soup with more body than using juice.
  • If you want a nice red gazpacho, peel the cucumber, use red bell pepper and red onion.
  • Like spicy? Use spicy V-8 or use Tabasco instead of worcestershire sauce.
  • Like smokey? Smoke or grill the vegetables (including the cuke if you are brave); chill veggies, then make gazpacho. Good idea if you have space on the grill one night: grill your gazpacho veggies for tomorrow.
  • Replace worcestershire sauce with another secret ingredient of your choice: basil, garlic, jalepeno, …
  • Experiment! Yellow peppers? Fine. Green onions? OK. Roasted red peppers? Knock yourself out.
  • Gazpacho salad: chop all the vegetables into salad sized pieces. Mix some tomato juice with the vinegar and worcestershire for the dressing.

I could never bring myself to try Gazpacho soup. I have this slightly OCD propriety issue with hot and cold things; cold things need to be cold and hot things need to be hot, and a soup served cold offends my sense of propriety and squicks me out a little.

Even though it sounds good. Damnit.

Plus. I can’t think of Gazpacho soup without thinking of Red Dwarf.

Here’s the recipe I use:

6 cups coarsely chopped tomato (about 3 lb)
32 oz bottle low sodium tomato juice (I usually use spicy V-8 juice)
2 cups coarsely chopped peeled cucumber (about 2 medium)
1-1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1-1/4 cup finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp basil vinegar
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
(or, just use 3 Tbsp total of whatever vinegar you like)
3/4 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp hot sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; stir well and chill. (The soup, not you. Or, if you prefer, you can chill until the soup is chilled.)

For Christ’s sweet sake, USE CHICKEN STOCK! REAL stock, and make your own if you can!

You’re never going to find the “perfect” gazpacho without real, quality stock, nor any other soup worth eating!

There are about as many versions as there are Spaniards, i.e. you have to try to figure it out for yourself. I have my own mix, but it wouldn’t suit your preferences. I’ll share it anyway. It’ll take some time to prepare.

Day 1.

  1. Roast a red pepper (paprika). When it’s all black, let cool and then rinse under running water, leaving only the red part. Remove stem, seeds ASF.
  2. Take two fresh tomatoes and boil them, with a slight cross etched to the skin. Peel the tomates and rinse from seeds.
    3.Chop an onion and let it it sit under salted water for at least 24h. Drain the next day.

Day 2.
Peel a cucumber, throw it in a blender and mix it with the stuff you prepared the day before with two cloves of garlic, red wine vinegar, virgin olive oil, salt, freshly ground black pepper. Mix two parts of veggie mush with one part of ice cold carbonated mineral water.
Pour over ice cubes in a bowl.

Enjoy.

Cervaise, can you share (or email to me if posting it violates board rules)? Is Cook’s Illustrated the one where they try several different recipes and then share the one they think is the best? If so, I made their “best gazpacho” recipe several times and indeed it was amazing. I remember that it involved a touch of sherry vinegar, and suggested a slight drizzle of olive oil upon serving.

A few years ago I lost the recipe, much to my dismay. I’d love to have it again. And, based on the OP’s criteria, it would serve her purposes too.

Argent Towers: uh, chicken stock? In gazpacho? :confused: This sounds just plain icky. The tomato juice works just fine, IMO.

Chicken stock? In gazpacho?

Don’t serve it to your vegetarian friends. They sure won’t be expecting it.

You didn’t ask me, but I can tell you that the answer is YES. Cook’s Illustrated magazine is done by the same people that produce the PBS show “America’s Test Kitchen,” and they do exactly that: try the recipe dozens of times with minor variations to find the best way to cook everything. Here’s their website, if it helps: http://www.americastestkitchen.com/

The perfect gazpacho is pretty much whatever suits your palette. Gazpacho can be made with almost anything, including peppers, cukes, corn, tomatoes and even potatoes. Try it however it sounds appealing to you and adjust the ingredients to suit you.

Yeah, I’m really hoping gazpacho I’ve had in the past didn’t have surprise chicken in it. I usually ask about soups, but I’ve always assumed gazpacho to be inherently vegetarian.

I’ve never made it, never actually had it… but I thought I’d devise a recipe. This is how I’d make it. The only problem with my recipe is that you need a juicer (incidentally, a juicer is something I don’t have either, but here’s a chance to use em if you got em.).

Pantry Gazpacho

1 46 oz. container of V8 Vegetable juice
6 roma tomatoes seeded and diced
2 cucumbers (half of one cucumber peeled seeded and diced)
2 Red Bell Peppers (One pepper roasted, peeled, and seeded)
5 cloves of Garlic
2 Tblsp. of Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce (Tuong Ot Toi Viet-Nam)
dash of Tabasco
1 tablespoon salt or to taste
Generous grinding of fresh Pepper

Add V8 to a large bowl along with the 6 diced tomatoes, 1/2 diced cucumber, and 1 chopped roasted red pepper. Put The remaing cucumber, fresh red pepper, and garlic cloves through a juicer. Add the juice to your gazpacho base. Add Garlic Chili Sauce, tabasco, Salt and Pepper to taste. Refrigerate overnight and put out to serve a little early. Best to serve Gazpacho a little closer to room temperature, I would imagine. I’m sure it would help the flavors pop!

Garnish with garlicky croutons, if so desired.

That’s it! Thank you, Dijon, thank you! I recommend this recipe to everyone.

Forgot the Vinegar! But it’s a happy accident. Put a bottle of sherry vinegar out out for guests to garnish to taste. Kind of like sherry with black bean soup.

Always happy to help!