Hot Weather, Have a Cup of Gaspacho

During my last visit to Spain I loved their wonderful cold soup, Gaspacho.

Although many countries claim a cold soup as part of their national cuisine, the credit really goes to Spain for inventing the original.  We now are blessed with cold potato soup, which the French call Vichyssoise, pureed potato and leek soup with a cream base; from the Arab world and from India we have cold cucumber soup with yogurt added; and more than one variety of gaspacho from Spain.  All are quite tasty, and are quite wonderful.

Creative chefs around the country have taken this basic idea and have adapted it to almost anything that can be pureed and served cold.  On various menus, I’ve seen watermelon soup, avocado soup, mango and cream-based soup. There is really is no limit to what can go into cold soup.  If you can drink it, you can make it into a soup.  Even if you’ve never considered soup in the summer, please give it a try.  You may pleasantly surprised both at the taste, the cooling effect, its ability to quench both your thirst and your hunger at the same time.

Here is the a basic Gaspacho recipe

Gaspacho

serves 4

2        pounds fresh ripe tomatoes

1        clove garlic, mashed

1        teaspoon lime juice

2        tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

1/2    teaspoon ground cumin

2        tablespoons olive oil

salt to taste

1        small cucumber, finely diced, for garnish

1       green pepper, finely chopped, for garnish

1       tomato, finely diced, for garnish

1/2     cup  chopped cilantro, for garnish

-In saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic for few seconds.  Add the cumin and the cilantro, stir and cook for one minute.  Remove from the stove, and add the rest of the ingredients and place in a food processor.

-Puree all ingredients until smooth soup.

-Strain tomato mixture adn put into a bowl.

-Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

-Serve in a large chilled bowl then surround it with with the garnish bowls.  The diner make his selection from the vegetables, place them in the soup bowl then pour the chilled soup on top. Enjoy

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