This week on our social media sites, we’ve been talking all about the tomato, one of the most versatile of all vegetables — and fruits, depending on you ask. From its fascinating history to how it’s eaten, and processed, just about everywhere, it’s not surprising that it’s ranked in the top four of all vegetables consumed (only topped by potatoes, carrots, and corn) in the world.
We asked Chef Clive, of our Cooking in Andalusian Olive Country cooking vacation in Spain, about cooking with tomatoes, and he had a lot to say about the tasty treat:
“During the summer months, we have an abundance of tomatoes growing in our vegetable garden. This year is particularly a good year for all the crops such as tomatoes. We grow cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes that are just so juicy to eat in salad or as garnish, then we have plum tomatoes, beef tomatoes, garden tomatoes, kumato (black tomatoes), and black plum tomatoes, which can be used as salad, or make sauces.
“Around mid-autumn, we have lots of green tomatoes that would not get ripen completely, so we use them to make chutney or marmalade. No waste here!
“It is very hard to decide on one favorite use of tomatoes when they are in season, but one of them is definitely Gazpacho. Second one is sun drenched tomatoes…. using our ecologically grown, naturally ripened tomatoes full of flavor. We will cut them in half, place them on a tray, sprinkle a little sea salt, and dry in the full sun for a few days. Before it is completely hardened, we will preserve them in quality extra virgin olive oil often with laurel, oregano, and/or Spanish basil, and a few peppercorns, or simply without any herbs and spices.”
You can make Chef Clive’s gazpacho on a Spain food tour, or in your own home. Here are just two recipes for the cold soup. As the chef says, “They are many versions and it is so easy to change the quantity of the ingredients according one’s palate.”
Classic Andalusian Gazpacho Recipe
Serves: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Cook method: puree
- 1 kg (about 2.2 lbs) ripe tomatoes
- 1 Spanish cucumber
- 1/2 – 1 small Spanish onion
- 2 small green bell peppers
- 2 garlic cloves
- 100 gr (3.5 oz) white bread
- 10 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp fino or sherry vinegar
Ingredients for the garnishes
- 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
- Finely sliced Serrano ham
- Chopped onion
- Chopped green bell pepper
- Chopped cucumber
1. Soak the bread in water and vinegar and place in the processor or blender with the chopped vegetables, olive oil, salt and water, and blend.
2. Add the water depending on how thick you want the gazpacho to be.
3. Blend until smooth.
4. Taste and then correct the seasoning with salt and extra virgin olive oil.
5. Chill in fridge overnight to allow the flavors to blend.
6. Serve cold with the garnish.
- ½ small onion, chopped roughly
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped roughly
- 1 Spanish cucumber, chopped roughly
- 1 kg (about 2.2 lbs) ripe tomatoes, chopped roughly
- 1 – 2 cloves garlic
- 45 ml (1.5 oz) fresh lemon juice
- 30 ml (1 oz) fino or sherry vinegar
- 2 g (about 1/2 tsp) dried tarragon (optional)
- 1 g (about 1/4 tsp) fresh basil (optional)
- 15 g (3 tsp) fresh parsley (optional)
- 4 g (about 3/4 tsp) white sugar
- 1 glass of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 glass of iced water (adjust the quantity according to the preference on thickness of soup)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preparation is the same as above.
Discover more Andalusia recipes to make at home by going on a Spain food tour with Chef Clive!
Read about Clive’s experiences with the local olive harvest in Andalusia.
By Liz Hall
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