Quick and Easy Traditional Gazpacho

Gazpacho is among the easiest, quickest to make and healthiest soups you could serve. I love it because it is filling, yet light and refreshing. Serve it as a light lunch with salad and crusty garlic bread. It is also great served in mugs on a BBQ party while your guest are gathered around the grill in anticipation. Another very original way to serve it is in shooters on a tray as part of a tapas party menu.

Serves 4-6

6 medium ripe tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 small white onion
3 garlic cloves, deveined
1/3 of an English cucumber
2 slices wholemeal bread, stale or toasted
2 Tbs red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Spanish paprika (I use the smoked variety)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ice cubes

For garish:
cucumber, diced
tomato, diced
red pepper, diced
croutons (optional)

Chop roughly the tomatoes, pepper onion, cucumber, bread the deviated garlic cloves and put them in a blender. Removing the green germ from the middle of the garlic cloves helps with the smell. Add the spices, vinegar, olive oil and ice cubes and blend until smooth. I like my gazpacho as it is, but if you prefer it perfectly smooth you can pass it trough a sieve.

Chill: Adjust the seasoning and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. You could serve it immediately but chilling it for some time allows the ingredients to combine and develop a depth of flavor which is worth the wait.

Serve garnished with dices tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and parsley. You could add croutons, a drizzle of olive oil or extra ice cubes as well.

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