Let’s talk about soups now!
Where I come from (cold and furious Russia) soups are a MUST! However, where I lived most of my life (Cyprus), soups are not that likeable… Thinking about it, only 1 traditional Cypriot soup comes to mind – Trahana, and people eat it mostly on 1 occasion during the whole year – Easter night…
Why is that so? They say, it’s due to whether differences, it tends to be colder in Russia, UK and Canada, than in the Mediterranean, so locals there enjoy soups more. Maybe so, but Russians eat them in winter, spring, autumn, summer, no matter of time of the day, outside temperature, or occasion. So up until today, it remains a mystery to me…
Generally, you would classify all the soups into 3 main groups: clear soups (e.g. bouillon, broth and consommé), thick soups (e.g. cream soup, bisque and chowder) and speciality & national soups (e.g. ramen, bouillabaisse and TomYum).
Without further ado, I would like to present to you my favourite COLD SPECIALITY SOUP, which I get to know only a year ago, when I was living in Barcelona, Spain. Let me introduce you to the one and only – GAZPACHO!!!
Gazpacho is a typical cold soup from Andalucía in the South of the Spanish peninsula. It is a region rich in traditions with a strong cultural identity. Gazpacho has its origin there for two main reasons: the high temperatures that are often over 30ºc and the fact that Andalusia is a profoundly agricultural region. In summer, when tomatoes are ripe, peppers are juicy and sun is scorching hot, Andalusian farm workers would drink cold gazpacho to refresh themselves. To this day, the tradition of drinking gazpacho during summer months remains!
I usually cook only a traditional Gazpacho (see the recipe below).
Ingredients (for 4 to 6 people):
• 1 kg very ripe tomatoes*, cut in quarters
• 1/2 ripe red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
• 1/2 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced
• 1 medium cucumber, deseeded and diced
• 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
• 6-8 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (to your taste)
• 4-6 Tbsp. sherry vinegar (to your taste)
• ½ cup really cold water (or ice, if you don’t have time to chill it)
• Garnish – optional
*The tomatoes that are the best for Gazpacho are “Tomata de Penjar” (a.k.a ‘Hanging tomatoes’), which are grown and sold only in Spain. I’ve tried to find them in Toronto, but unfortunately, they seem not to be exported here. If you manage to find them in Toronto, please DO let me know! A Gazpacho will be on me 😉
Today is the first time, I cook Gazpacho in Canada, so I’ve decided to experiment a little and try several different versions of the traditional Gazpacho, which my Catalan friends had advised me to try.
Please watch this video, where I will talk about the recipe, it’s variations, where and how to pick the ingredients, and the whole process:
Thanks for watching! As you have noticed, my experiment was not very successful, unfortunately. In some versions of the soup, the body was too thin, in some the flavour was too sour, and in some the color definitely did not come out right…
But now you know what may go wrong, and what should not be played with definitely:
– Do not put more than a few stems of basil (if you want it at all);
– Do not overdo with the vinegar, otherwise it will turn out too sour;
– Do not give your experimental dish to a picky conservative for evaluation 🙂
Overall, I think it was a great and fun endeavour that you hopefully, had enjoyed as well! Experimenting is always entertaining, and it is important to understand that without experiments, there would be no dishes invented and no new pallets found! So keep on exploring and testing new recipes that you like, even if they seem too difficult or too ‘traditional’ to play around.
Stay tuned! More blogs are coming soon, following my culinary journey!