The perfect hot weather summer dish in Spain
Something we Spanish know about is how to deal with heat and one of our coping strategies is chilled gazpacho, a super refreshing dish loaded with healthy benefits.
And to top it all…. it’s quick and easy with no cooking required.
Gazpacho is summer par excellence and probably one of the best known Spanish dishes. It hits the spot any time of the day or night, it can be served as a first course at lunch or dinner, even as a mid-morning snack, either on sophisticated menus or traditional home meals.
Where does it come from?
Most historians point to a soup that the Romans extended through the Mediterranean. This soup, though, differs greatly from the modern gazpacho as tomato, its main ingredient, only came to Europe in the XV century from South America. Day peasants working in the fields were given bread and oil for their meals. Bread soaked in water made a simple soup, to which was added oil, garlic and salt, plus whatever fresh vegetables were available.
The most well known form of Gazpacho is the Andalusian gazpacho(1), although there are as many varieties as regions in Spain. In Murcia(2), gazpacho has a more solid consistency with no red pepper and lots of oregano. There are also many similar cold soups that are related to gazpacho for example “Salmorejo”(3) which is a cream of tomato, garlic, oil and bread or “Ajoblanco”(4), which is an almond and garlic soup with the always present salt, vinegar and oil.
Why is it so refreshing?
One of the reasons is vinegar. Back in the days when cooling methods were not available the gazpacho was left in an unglazed earthenware pot to cool by evaporation . The ingredients of gazpacho,vinegar, in particular quenched thirst and vegetables provided vitamins -mainly, A, C and E- while nourishing and replacing lost salts. Gazpacho is an isotonic drink with a great content in mineral salts and water that hydrates the body and relieves fatigue.
Here is a traditional gazpacho recipe to make with a blender:
- 1 kilo of ripe, good FRESH tomatoes, peeled
- 1 garlic clove
- 50 gr green sweet pepper
- 50 gr red sweet pepper
- 40 gr onion
- 50 gr peeled cucumber
- 30 gr red vinegar
- 50 gr extra virgin olive oil
- between 250-500 gr cold water
- some 100 gr stale bread (French or Ciabatta style)
Put all the ingredients in a good blender and crush at the highest speed and power.
Go on until it is creamy and with some consistency, not watery-like and there are no bits left.
Pour it in a jar or bowl and let it chill in your fridge. Serve cold it in bowls.
The heat wave we experienced last week may have gone but we will hopefully enjoy some more summer days in the coming weeks where you will have the chance to bring more Spanish taste to your days.
Hope you enjoy this blog!
Hola! My name is Mariluz. I am originally from Toledo, although I studied and lived most of my life in Madrid. I have a degree in Modern Languages and a PGCE in Teaching from Universidad Complutense (Madrid). I have also trained and certified at Instituto Cervantes, London I have been working as a teacher and translator for over 15 years and I can speak English, Italian and French fluently. I think that learning to communicate in a new language is one of the most challenging yet rewarding skills to achieve, so I can fully understand how a learner feels: I have been in your shoes myself! I love to present engaging lessons with a good balance of Spanish culture and language and most of all, interacting with students in order to add to learners potential for success. Come onboard!!
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