In the midst of the summer heat wave, it is time to look South and do as the Spanish do! In my book, no dish could possibly fit more perfectly into the box of „ultimate summer dish“ as lovely fresh chilled gazpacho. And even though we do not get such nice tomatoes and vegetables in Berlin as you do in the Mediterranean, it is hard to resist the wonderful smell of cucumber, tomato and pepper as you squeeze them up and find your appetite returning just as you thought the heat had taken it all away!
- 1 1/2 kg of tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 red pepper
- 1 green pepper
- 1 small fennel
- 1/4 of a red onion, peeled
- 1/2 red chili
- 75g stale crusty white bread
- 2-3 tablespoons of sherry or white wine vinegar
- 1 shot of sherry
- ca. 100 ml of extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- For decoration (optional): 1 to 2 teaspoons of chopped parsley or any other green leaves
- For serving (optional): Toasted white bread drizzled with olive oil
- Peel the tomatoes as follows: Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Remove the core and make a cross-shaped insertion at the bottom of each tomato. Drop the tomatoes (maximally 3 to 4 at a time) into the boiling water. Wait for 45 to 60 minutes until the skin starts coming off around the cross-shaped insertion. Remove from the water immediately and cool down under running water. The peel off the skin by hand or with the help of a knife. It the skin should not come off easily, drop the tomatoes back into the boiling water for a few seconds, but make sure you do not over-boil them.
- Cut the tomatoes into halves and remove the seeds with a teaspoon. You can save the cores, they make an excellent stock when blended and passed through a sieve that can be added to vegetables stews or pasta sauces.
- Roughly chop the tomatoes and tip into a large bowl.
- Prepare the cucumber by peeling and halving it. Then remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut into dices and add to the tomatoes.
- Cut the peppers into half, remove the membrane and seeds. Cut into dices and tip into the bowl as well.
- Remove the fennel stalks. Keep any leaves. Quarter the fennel and remove the heart. Cut into dices and tip into the bowl as well, together with the chopped fennel leaves.
- Chop the onion, the chili (seeds removed) and add to the rest of the vegetables.
- Chop the bread and add as well.
- Add the vinegar, sherry, olive oil, and season with pepper and salt. Then mix all of the ingredients with your hands. Press down in the bowl to ensure that the juices come out. Cover and let infuse in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours, ideally overnight.
- Put into a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add more of the olive oil, vinegar, pepper and/or salt to taste. Chill again until properly cold before serving.
- Serve (optionally) with a sprinkle of parsley or any other green leaves and with some toasted white bread drizzled with olive oil on the side.