When summer’s heat has been turned up to full blast, who wants to cook? (I do) When it’s hot outside, who wants to heat up the inside by turning on the stove? (I will) When the hot season is at its full height, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a bowl of savoury cold soup? (not me) So, today, in order to bide by the rules of others, I will not cook; I will not heat up the house; and instead of having cold soup, I will make Gazpacho Salad. This, of course, is not an original idea, but this is my version of a refreshingly cool soup that you can eat with your fork.
Gazpacho, renown as the ultimate in cold soups, has its origins in the southern region of Spain known as Andalusia. Authentic Gazpacho flaunts vine-ripened tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, tangy onions, sweet peppers, pungent garlic, aromatic basil and flat-leaf parsley. Gazpacho Salad contains all of that, in addition to a vinaigrette that accentuates these ingredients. Ideally, the vinaigrette should contain sherry vinegar, as it also originates from this region of Spain. Sherry vinegar is to Spain as Balsamic vinegar is to Italy. As for the oil, the best Gazpacho … and Gazpacho Salad … feature Spanish olive oil. If this is not available to you, another high-quality extra virgin olive oil will manage the situation just fine. The key to a great salad …any salad…is fresh, top-quality ingredients.
To prevent the salad from becoming too watery, choose ‘meaty’ tomatoes (Roma). Heirloom tomatoes and Campari tomatoes also work beautifully, however, you will need to remove some of the seeds and membranes to prevent this salad from actually becoming ‘soup’.
Variation: The additions of garbanzo beans, or grilled chicken, or prawns, make this a very complete and satisfying luncheon dish. However, it would no longer be a genuine ‘Gazpacho Salad’ …
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 0 minutes
Number of Servings: 4
5-6 fresh ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), Roma, or other ‘meaty’ tomatoes,
cut into medium-dice pieces, seeds and membranes removed
1 yellow pepper, medium-dice
1 orange pepper, medium-dice
1/3 of a red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 of an English cucumber, medium-dice
1/3 cup (85 mL) finely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup (85 mL) finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Sherry Vinaigrette Ingredients:
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons (30 mL) sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons (10 mL) Worcestershire sauce
3-4 drops of Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
1/3 cup (85 mL) Spanish or Greek olive oil
Kosher salt; Freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare all vegetables by chopping them into relatively uniform pieces and placing them in a large salad bowl.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking together the garlic, sherry vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil as you continue to whisk. Since this vinaigrette does not contain a strong emulsifier, like mustard, an immersion blender is useful.
- Season to taste with Kosher salt and black pepper.
- Pour vinaigrette over vegetables and stir to combine. Let it marinate for a few minutes prior to serving.