Gazpacho—a raw, chilled soup made with pureed vegetables and olive oil—is a dish that dinner guests either love or love to hate. Although gazpacho can be a polarizing summer menu item, with some eaters remaining firmly in the anti-cold soup camp, when made correctly this flavorful and refreshing savory dish can win over even the most skeptical of diners. These easy-to-master tips will help you take your gazpacho game to a whole new level.
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Use Quality Produce
Produce is at the heart of gazpacho, so it’s important to choose good-quality produce and the right kinds of tomatoes and vegetables for your recipe. Opt for organic produce, and switch up the types of tomatoes being used for different soups, working in interesting varieties like yellow heirloom tomatoes and tomatillos. Gazpacho is also the perfect place to put less photogenic, “ugly” produce to use; just be sure to cut off any soft spots or cracks from a tomato before adding it to your soup.
Ditch the Skin
Although blending your gazpacho with seeds, skin, and all is undeniably the fastest route, this will result in an unpleasantly chewy, fibrous soup that doesn’t have the trademark smoothness of this summer soup. To easily remove tomato skin before blending the gaspacho, parboil the tomatoes for 30 seconds before adding them to an ice water bath and peeling back the skins. For other produce, like cucumber and watermelon, be sure to remove any skin and seeds before adding them to the equation.
Be Generous with the Oil
After good produce, olive oil is the second most important factor in a gazpacho. Opt for a high-quality extra virgin olive oil and be generous with your pours. A robust dose of this healthy fat will add flavor and weight to the pureed produce, creating a velvety, slurpable soup. Skimping on the oil will result in a thinner, less flavorful dish. If you’re feeling creative, use a flavored olive oil that will stand out in this delicate dish.
Skip the Water
When it comes to a great gazpacho, consider water the enemy. While it might be tempting to add a few spoonfuls during the blending process to help the soup along, this will result in a watered down and less flavorful soup. If a recipe does call for water, opt for tomato juice or any kind of broth instead.
Use the Right Blender
By nature, gazpacho needs to be blended extremely well to result in that desired creamy, craveable texture with no added cream or water. To achieve this, a high-powered blender will be the key to creating a perfectly velvety soup. Investing in a Vitamix or heavy-duty KitchenAid blender will guarantee you’ll be making silky gazpachos for years to come.
Acid is Your Friend
Acidic ingredients, like vinegar and lemon juice, will help to bring out the flavors of the produce while acting as the perfect counterpart to the rich olive oil. When adding vinegar, make sure to opt for a high-quality, flavorful blend, as you’ll be able to taste it in the bowl. The most popular type of vinegar for gazpacho making is sherry vinegar, which helps to accentuate and deepen the flavors of the soup. Red wine and white wine vinegar will also do the trick, while flavored vinegars can add an interesting twist to a standard gazpacho recipe.
Don’t Be Afraid of Seasoning
Since gazpacho is an uncooked dish, many home cooks tend to under season this soup for fear that the raw ingredients will be overwhelmed by too much seasoning. However, salt, herbs, and spices will be the defining factor between a just-okay bowl of gazpacho and an out-of-this-world flavor bomb. Don’t be afraid to add plenty of salt, pepper, and spice to the recipe. The flavors of the soup will actually mellow during the chilling process, so make sure your freshly blended gazpacho has a slightly stronger flavor than you hope to achieve in the end.
Let It Chill
One of the key components of a great gazpacho is the temperature. To achieve a perfectly cold gazpacho, this will require ample time in the fridge to cool down and allow the flavors to meld together. Let your gazpacho to rest in the fridge for 1-3 hours, but don’t let it sit for too long. Chilling the gazpacho overnight or for too many hours can result in the produce turning and the soup becoming sour and unpalatable.
Choose the Right Toppings
The final step for pulling off the gazpacho of your dreams is to select the perfect toppings to contrast your creamy soup. There’s no better way to emphasize that creaminess than with crunchy toppings like homemade croutons, roasted almonds, or seeds; just be sure to add these crunchy ingredients right before serving to avoid them getting soggy. Another great addition to gazpacho is a drizzle of flavorful oil, creme fraiche, or sour cream, which will make your soup look and taste gourmet. Finally, top your gazpacho with some bright, fresh herbs like mint or parsley to fully bring out the summery flavors.
Now that you’ve got the tips for making an amazing gazpacho this summer, get started with a recipe for classic Tomato Gazpacho, Gazpacho with Lemon Garlic Shrimp, Cucumber Gazpacho with Toasted Rye Croutons, Yellow Gazpacho with Herbed Goat Cheese Toasts, or Peach Gazpacho with Salted Candied Almonds.
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