Gazpacho (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡaθˈpatʃo]; Andalusian: [ɡahˈpa(t)ʃo]) or Andalusian gazpacho is a cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables. A classic of Spanish cuisine, it originated in the southern region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is widely eaten in Spain and Portugal, particularly during hot summers, as it is refreshing and cool.
While there are other recipes called gazpacho, such as gazpacho manchego, the standard usage implies Andalusian gazpacho. There are also a number of dishes that are closely related to Andalusian gazpacho and often considered variants thereof, such as ajoblanco, salmorejo, pipirrana, porra antequerana (closer to a bread soup), cojondongo and Portuguese gaspacho (Portuguese: [ɡɐʃˈpaʃu]).
There are many theories as to the origin of Gazpacho, including one that says it is a soup of bread, olive oil, water, vinegar and garlic that arrived in Spain and Portugal with the Romans. Once in Spain, it became a part of Andalusian cuisine, particularly in Córdoba, Seville, and Granada, using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar, similar to ajoblanco. During the 19th century, red gazpacho was created when tomatoes were added to the ingredients. This version spread internationally, and remains commonly known.
In Andalusia, most gazpacho recipes include stale bread, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, garlic, olive oil, wine vinegar, water, and salt. Northern recipes often include cumin and/or pimentón (smoked sweet paprika).
The following is a typical modern method of preparing gazpacho:
Traditionally, gazpacho was made by pounding the vegetables in a mortar with a pestle; this more laborious method is still sometimes used as it helps keep the gazpacho cool and avoids the foam and completely smooth consistency created by blenders or food processors. A traditional way of preparation is to pound garlic cloves in a mortar, add a little soaked stale bread, then olive oil and salt, to make a paste. Next, very ripe tomatoes and vinegar are added to this paste. In the days before refrigeration the gazpacho was left in an unglazed earthenware pot to cool by evaporation, with the addition of some water.
Gazpacho may be served alone or with garnishes, such as hard-boiled eggs, chopped ham (in the salmorejo variety from Córdoba), chopped almonds, cumin crushed with mint, orange segments, finely chopped green pepper, onion, tomato or cucumber. In Extremadura, local ham was added to the gazpacho itself rather than as a garnish, this is called gazpacho extremeño. Andalusian sources say that gazpacho should be slightly chilled, but not iced.
The ingredients, texture, and thickness of gazpacho vary regionally and between families.
The original recipe using bread, water, vinegar, oil and salt is traditional in the Iberian Peninsula, perhaps going back to Roman times. Every Andalusian region has its own variety. The humble gazpacho became a very deeply rooted food for peasants and shepherds in the south of Spain. The basic gazpacho gave rise to many variants, some also called gazpacho, others not; some authors have tried to classify all these variations. Gazpachos may be classified by colour: the most usual red ones (which contain tomato), white ones (which contain no tomato, but include dried fruits), and green ones (which are white but contain some spices that make them green). These variants have their basic ingredients in common, including garlic paste which works as an emulsifier, bread, olive oil, vinegar and salt. In addition to the traditional ingredients, red fruits such as strawberries, muskmelon, etc., may be added, making the gazpacho a bit sweeter. Gazpacho may be served as a starter, main dish, or tapa.
A popular variation comes from the town of Rota in the province of Cadiz. During times of drought there was not enough water to make gazpacho; thus, arranque has the same ingredients as gazpacho, but requires less water and bread, making it a sort of cream. Some people add more bread until it takes on the consistency of a dip.
In Extremadura, gazpachos are a kind of purée or thick gazpacho known as cojondongo, or cojondongo del gañán, made of breadcrumbs, garlic, oil, and vinegar, then topped with chopped onions, tomato and peppers.
Gazpacho manchego, as its name implies, is made in the east region of La Mancha, in Albacete and nearby areas, and is popular in other areas in the center and southwest of the country.
It is a meat stew, whose main ingredients are small game animals or birds such as rabbit, hare, quail, or pigeon, and flat bread, and may include garlic, tomatoes, and mushrooms. It is cooked in a cauldron and served hot. Another well-known variant in La Mancha is gazpacho de pastor or galiano.
Some other hot meat or fish dishes from other regions are called gazpacho (gazpacho jumillano, gazpacho de Yecla, gazpacho de Requena, etc.)
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