Last week I enjoyed a rare solo night out at Must Winebar for the launch of its January promotion: Cool For Cats. If you need a reason to start your night out early, then this is it! From 4pm to 7pm, the crew at Must are serving up a special bar menu along with nicely priced gin cocktails. Check out Perth Munchkin‘s write-up for more details, but the important keywords are: gin, ribs, sangria and gazpacho.
Another lovely bonus of the night was being given a wee bottle of Sipsmith Gin which I’m looking forward to
sculling down on the last week of the school holidays using in a few fun summer recipes. Something else that got me inspired at Cool For Cats was Chef Russell Blaikie’s flavour-packed gazpacho shots. I’d forgotten how utterly refreshing this cold Spanish soup was.
I’ve made gazpacho a few times before but each time I end up worrying about whether I was making it the right way or not. Some recipes call for red capsicums to be used, whereas others suggest using sugar or balsamic vinegar for taste. This time I decided to use the basic recipe featured in my Spanish cuisine bible (Made in Spain by José Andrés), tweak it a little, and accept that there’s no absolute right way to make a gazpacho. Once you get over that nugget, this soup is as simple as it gets. What you do need for a good gazpacho however is a very powerful blender or Thermomix, and access to very ripe tomatoes and capsicum for maximum flavour. Some recipes suggest peeling the tomatoes after blanching in boiling water but I don’t see the need given the Thermomix blitzes everything perfectly and I’m sure a blender would do the same.
Only the best olive oil should be used for gazpacho and if you can’t get hold of sherry vinegar, then a red wine or balsamic vinegar can be used. I personally hold back on the garlic when used raw as the sharpness isn’t to my liking. That’s why I don’t use raw onions in my gazpacho either. Fortunately, I often find the soup has a nicer, subtle flavour in subsequent days after making it once the raw garlic has mellowed, so you may wish to add more garlic if that’s your thing :) Gazpacho can be served up with some extra cucumber and cherry tomatoes, with croutons to garnish. I often make mine into a complete meal by adding cooked prawns and avocado in the centre like some sort of prawn cocktail soup. Simple and refreshing. It’s all you want on a hot summer’s night. That is, if you can’t get out to Must and let Russell take care of the food! Disclaimer: Invitation to the launch was extended to me via a PR agent on behalf of Must Winebar.
- ½ clove of garlic (use up to 2 cloves if preferred)
- 2 slices of day-old bread (I used sourdough)
- 200g cold water
- 50g sherry vinegar (20g if using balsamic). You can adjust to taste later.
- 1 continental cucumber, peeled and deseeded (or 2 Lebanese cucumbers)
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- ⅓ cup of tinned tomato or tomato puree (if desired, as a flavour booster if tomatoes not fully ripe)
- 1 medium green capsicum
- ½ medium red capsicum (or swap amounts with green capsicum for a more red gazpacho)
- 50g olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Run Thermomix on Speed 10 and drop garlic clove through the lid.
- Stop TMX and place bread in TMX bowl. Blitz on Speed 6 for a a couple of seconds until roughly torn up.
- Add water to TMX bowl and allow bread and garlic to soak for five minutes.
- Add all ingredients in TMX bowl and blitz on Speed 9 for one minute or until very smooth.
- Season further if required with salt and pepper.
- Transfer gazpacho to sealed container and chill for a few hours before serving. Soup is very good the following day so consider making in advance.