FREE delivery on total orders of £120 or above for Mainland Wales, England and Scottish Lowlands (total excludes any discounts or promotions)

Elisabeth's Gazpacho de Verano

Elisabeth's Gazpacho de Verano

You wouldn’t think this sophisticated iced refreshment - scarcely a soup at all - started life as a simple bread porridge, eaten hot in winter and cold in summer - a peasant dish, sturdy and nourishing, a way of making hard bread palatable, much like Italy’s panzanella and our own bread-pudding. In winter the traditional soaking liquid was a ladleful of boiling broth from the puchero (hot water would do if times were hard) with a little garlic for flavour. In summer, the bread was the soaked with cold water, with maybe a spoonful of diced tomato and mild onion for flavour. A touch of luxury might be a sprinkling of diced serrano ham, hardboiled egg, shredded bacalao. Its history - although the dish is still sometimes to be found in its original form in rural Andalusia - explains its modern incarnation as an iced tomato soup ln which the bread is of no great importance.

Makes about 1 1/2 litres, enough for 6

INGREDIENTS:

1k ripe tomatoes, scalded, skinned and chopped
1/4 mild Spanish onion, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 red pepper, de-seeded and diced
1-2 slices dry bread, crusts removed, roughly torn
2 tblpns olive oil
2 tblspns wine vinegar
Salt, pepper, sugar to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Put all the ingredients in the liquidiser with a litre of cold water and process thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasoning - you may need a little more vinegar or sugar.  Store in the fridge till needed, though no longer than 3 days (it's inclined to ferment).

As a summer refresher, feel free to dilute it further.  As a first course soup, serve well-chilled - no ice-cubes (they alter the taste).  Hand small bowls of whatever you please in the way of finishing stirrings - diced cucumber, tomato, pepper, onion, hard-boiled egg, serrano ham, very small croutons crisped in olive oil.

Combine with...a paella, something hot and crisp such as bunuelos de queso, croquetas de jamon; a tortilla - most suitably the version prepared in Granada's gypsy quarter, the Sacromonte, which includes sweetbreads and brains and other variety meats I'm far too dainty to mention.