Good Food Blog
Soup, tomato, coldPosted at 10:26AM, 16 June 2008 by Jenni Muir - Food writer
It's impossible to mention gazpacho in our household without someone launching into Catherine Tate impersonations ('gas-pach-or...soup, tomato, cold') but when the weather's steamy-hot there are few more refreshing suppers.
Or quicker, as I was reminded this weekend. It only took ten minutes or so to chop and whiz it all together, using a bottle of passata instead of fresh tomatoes. Does anyone really insist on making gazpacho with fresh tomatoes in the UK? Even when I've got good fresh ripe Spanish tomatoes I'd be inclined to eat them raw in a salad rather than blend them into soup - it somehow feels wasteful.
Had the foodie police been in our kitchen on Sunday night, they'd have pointed out that it's not the tomatoes that make gazpacho, but bread, oil, vinegar and garlic.
So I really was making 'tomato soup, cold' because I only added the olive oil. But that's one of the things that's great about 'soup, tomato, cold', isn't it? You can riff on the basic recipe according to what ingredients you have to hand. We only had the tail end of a cucumber, so I also added fresh fennel and watercress, and used my only pepper - an orange one - and a couple of spring onions instead of regular onion. A few flakes of dried red chilli added oomph but basil or coriander would also have been good.
Sometimes I take a cue from ajo blanco - the creamy white version of gazpacho - and blend in some almonds. This time I forgot about thickening it altogether, just added the amount of passata that seemed right, and garnished the soup with the last of a jar of marinated feta cheese.
After a long hot day of park café sandwiches and trifle, all those puréed veg tasted wonderfully light and restorative, even if the meal was, as Janice and Ray would say, just cold tomato soup with old bits of cheese floating in it.