Gazpacho

Gazpacho

Begin by washing the vegetables well with cold water, then chop and mix with the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan. Blend all the ingredients together and pass them through a colander. Chill in the fridge until very cold. When you take it out of the fridge, the result will be one of the most delicious culinary dishes you can enjoy during the Andalusian summertime.

This is a type of cold, thick soup, typical of villages in the Antequera region, that gets its name from the tool with which it is made, the pestle (porra) and mortar; it can also be made by hand, grinded or crushed. It is also called porra fría or crúa to differentiate it from the hot soup that contains the same ingredients, but is eaten hot, accompanied by black pudding or bacon, typically in winter.

Porra is a thick cold soup that, like most cold soups or gazpachos (porras, ajoblancos, salmorejos catana, mazamorra, ardoria, pimentón, aguaíllo etc) is defined in the dictionary as ´A type of cold soup that is normally made with pieces of bread and oil, vinegar, salt, garlic, onion and other spices.´ It is a common mistake to think that gazpacho and porra al tomate are the same.

Slice the bread thinly and toast it. Break it into bits and put in a tureen. Put the water in a pan and bring to a boil. Drop in the tomato for 1 minute, then remove. Skin the tomato and mash it with the red pimiento, salt, garlic and paprika. Stir in the oil. Add the mixture to the boiling water with the orange juice or juice and vinegar. Remove from heat and pour the liquid over the bread in the tureen.

In a soup pan combine the onion, pepper, tomatoes, garlic and oil and let them stew for 10 minutes. Add the paprika, cumin, pepper and salt and the water or stock. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes more. Add the fried bread croutons immediately before serving. Garnish with mint and serve accompanied by figs and pieces of green pepper and onions.

Soak the bread in water to cover. Put the egg and garlic in blender or processor and whirl them. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow stream until the sauce is amalgamated. Squeeze the water out of the bread and add it to the processor with the lemon juice and salt. Then add slowly as much water as the container will hold.

Soak the bread in water to cover, then squeeze it out. Place in blender or processor with the pulp from the peeled avocados, the onion, green pepper, cucumber and salt. Process until puréed. Add the oil and lemon juice and a little of the water. Pour into a tureen or pitcher and dilute with additional water. Chill. Serve the gazpacho garnished with chopped red pimiento.

This white gazpacho, typical of Málaga, is usually made with ground almonds, preferably "green" or freshly harvested ones. In the springtime, ground fava beans (habas) are substituted. If it’s too early in the summer for grapes, chopped apple or melon can be substituted. This would traditionally be made by crushing the almonds to a paste in a brass mortar.

This is essentially gazpacho without the water. Serve it as a starter in individual ramekins, accompanied by bread. Or use it as a dip for raw vegetables such as carrot sticks, pepper strips, celery. Soak the bread in enough water to cover for 15 minutes. Squeeze it out. Put in blender or processor with the tomatoes, pepper and garlic. Process until smooth.

A note about tomatoes: vine-ripened tomatoes are one of Spain’s summertime treats. If possible, buy the big, beefy ones. Even if they are slightly green, they will ripen in a few days. Avoid the all-of-a-size and colour long-life tomatoes. They’re bred for shipping long distances and just don’t have the flavour of the local varieties.