Gazpacho is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup, originating in the southern region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is widely consumed throughout Spain, neighboring Portugal (where it is known as gaspacho) and parts of Latin America. Gazpacho is mostly consumed during the summer months, due to its cold temperature and acidic bite.
Gazpacho has ancient roots. There are a number of theories of its origin, including as an Arab soup of bread, olive oil, water and garlic that arrived in Spain with the Moors, or via the Romans with the addition of vinegar. Once in Spain it became a part of Andalusian cuisine, particularly Seville, using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar, similar to ajoblanco.
Gazpacho remained popular with field hands as a way to cool off during the summer and to use available ingredients such as fresh vegetables and stale bread.
There are many modern variations of gazpacho, often in different colors and omitting the tomatoes and bread in favor of avocados, cucumbers, parsley, watermelon, grapes, meat stock, seafood, and other ingredients. Gazpacho has become an almost generic term for chilled vegetable soup.
Ingredients and preparation
In Andalusia, most gazpacho recipes typically include stale bread, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, wine vinegar, and salt. Some may also include onion.
The following is a typical method of preparing gazpacho:
Traditionally, gazpacho is made by pounding the vegetables using a mortar and pestle. This method is still sometimes favoured as it helps keep the gazpacho cool and avoids the completely smooth consistency, and foam, created by blenders and food processors.
In addition to the blended vegetable ingredients, it is also usually accompanied by different garnishes. These include the same vegetables the soup already contains, chopped up, as well as croutons. The garnishes are served separately so the consumer can add them to the soup himself. When making the salmorejo variety from Cordoba, chopped hard boiled egg and ham (e.g. jamón serrano, jamón ibérico, etc.) will be placed on top. In Extremadura, gazpacho with local ham is called gazpacho extremeño. This time, the ham tends to be added to the soup in the kitchen prior to serving (unlike the other garnishes which are added at the table).
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