In the Fall of 2015, my boyfriend Alex and I explored the beautiful country of Spain. Madrid was the first city that we ate and explore our way through followed by day trips to Toledo and Segovia. There we visited ancient aqueducts, castles and my first stab (literally) at cochinillo. A famous Spanish delicacy, suckling pig. But, the one city in particular that stole my heart forever was, Seville. A city with vast amounts of picturesque rooftops, old churches, and bountiful balconies. Many argue that Seville is the birthplace of the traditional dance, Flamenco. This city is roaring with life and culture.
One evening, Alex, I and our curious bellies ended up walking into a little bodega off of one of many side streets. A hole in the wall establishment, Alex was pleased to find a big sign in the window front that read “Gazpacho”. Uninterested, one cup of cold gazpacho was ordered and retrieved from a plastic cup. An honest dunk into a vat of savory vegetable soup. (Good thing no one one rating this service based on presentation.) To my surprise after a sip of this enchanting yet simple mash-up of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onion, and garlic, it was like tasting the city itself! I was hooked! We loved this particular gazpacho so much that we made a point of going back a few different occasions.
Since our adventure to Spain, we do our best to re-enact our dining experiences. From serving up hot garlicky gulags (baby eels) on crusty bread to owning our own jamón ibérico leg that was quite the conversation piece anytime people came over. A traditional gazpacho recipe was a must! Chicago’s summer heat was a reminder to Spain’s intense sun. A craving for this delicacy was a perfect excuse to create our own version of this cold concoction. An easy and convenient fresh summer go-to!
*Warning, I tend to be a person who doesn’t believe in measuring ingredients while cooking. For the Type A’ers out there, my boyfriend can relate to your frustration.*
- 2 lbs. of ripe tomatoes
- 1 cucumber peeled and chopped
- 1 green bell pepper (we typically leave this out our you could substitute a jalapeno or any other pepper of choice)
- 1-2 garlic cloves *depending on taste
- Half of a white onion rough chop
Seasoning (to taste):
- About a half cup of extra virgin olive oil
- About 1/4 cup of balsamic oil
- About 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
- Good pinch of sea salt
- Red pepper flakes or cayenne for added heat
Place chopped ingredients and seasoning into a food processor or blender. Blend until evenly smoothed out. Keep in mind, the longer this is able to sit and chill in the fridge, the better! For best results, make sure to prepare ahead of time or even, the night before. Serve with a piece of crunchy bread and enjoy!