Gazpacho is a cold soup that couldn’t be easier to make during the heat of summer. Pair it with a chilled glass of rosé and a cheese plate for an easy, relaxed meal.
School may be in session already (really Reno? Beginning of August?), but summer is definitely not over, my friends. Its a scorching 97 degrees today. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start dreaming about hot apple cider and pumpkin lattes. We’ve still got time to enjoy the warm weather that we’ll be missing in a few months.
So let’s talk cold soup. Sounds a little strange, right? My favorite chilled soup, Gazpacho, doesn’t really require any time in the kitchen…or the stove. After I’m done making it (in the short 25 minutes that it takes), I almost feel guilty that I’ve technically made soup…I get a sort of “that’s it?” mentality. Yes, that’s it, and with a little time in the fridge to meld the flavors together, this soup erases any sort of “cold soup” reservations you may previously had.
The first time I ever had gazpacho was at Mon Ami Gabi: a very famous restaurant in Las Vegas (and Chicago) that I used to work at. I never had cold soup before and had that same reservation we all have before trying it for the first time. It was the best soup I’d ever had (no joke!) and I made sure to have some every time our chef let me sneak it out of the kitchen.
Although my days working at Mon Ami Gabi are over, I’ve still craved Gazpacho every summer. I tried numerous recipes claiming to be “authentic Spanish Gazpacho” and was constantly disappointed. All I wanted was the Mon Ami Gabi version. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I apparently grew a brain and googled “Mon Ami Gabi Gazpacho” and voila! The recipe showed up right on page 1. Thank you, internet.
My husband and I usually eat dinner pretty late (almost always after 8pm, which is late in my book) and the night I made this gazpacho was no exception. I was getting ready to sit down in front of the TV with this soup to watch a movie with him, but he suggested that we sit outside and watch the sunset.
What?! Is that romance I detect?!
What an amazing idea that was. We served up a cheese plate, put a bottle of rosé on ice, and enjoyed our gazpacho while the sun disappeared and the stars came out. Then we sat for hours just sipping on our wine and enjoying the beautiful summer evening. This pairing today goes beyond what wine goes best with the soup–its about what atmosphere to enjoy with the soup. A cold soup like gazpacho goes best while enjoying the last days of summer…and a cheese plate, and a chilled bottle of rosé. Sometimes we all need a little reminder to go beyond our normal dinner routine, and this was mine. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a bowl of gazpacho as much as I enjoyed it that evening.
So…pair this soup with a chilled bottle of rosé. And a cheese plate, to complete the meal. Not many other wines will pair well with gazpacho because it has tricky flavors like jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic. But whenever other wines can’t stand up to certain flavors, rosé comes in to save the day. It drinks like a white but has characteristics of a red, which makes rosé very versatile. Make sure you pick a rosé that is dry to off-dry (so no white zinfandels, you hear?). Almost every wine-producing region in the world makes rosé, so feel free to be adventurous and pick something new. I had the Belleruche Cotes du Rhone from Chapoutier (from the Rhone Valley in France) with this meal and it was fabulous.
In the mood for beer? You have lots of choices with gazpacho. Pick a light, slightly fruity beer like a Belgian wit or German Hefeweizen, which will pick up on the acidity from the soup and complement the refreshing nature of the dish. Pilsner will also work nicely, just make sure the beer is not too bitter/hoppy which will overwhelm the gazpacho.
As I said prior, I can’t take credit for this gazpacho as it is a recipe shared by Chef John Simmons of Mon Ami Gabi. My biggest advice is to use fresh, farmer’s market-type heirloom tomatoes which will give much better flavor than those under-ripe tomatoes you buy at the grocery store. Make the soup in the afternoon and let it chill for a few hours before serving–that gives the soup some time to meld and intensify the flavors. The soup is even better the day after as leftovers!
- 1 Cup of day-old French bread (or slice bread, if you don't have), torn into pieces
- 2½ Cups tomato juice
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ Cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 medium heirloom tomatoes
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 red peppers
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp cilantro
- 2 Tbsp parsley
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeno, seeds removed
- Place the torn pieces of bread in a bowl. Pour 1½ Cups of tomato juice, ¼ Cup olive oil, and the cider vinegar over the bread and stir to combine.
- Blanche the tomatoes: fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Using a sharp knife, make "X" slits onto the bottom of each tomato which will make the skin easy to remove. Once the water in the pot is boiling, plunge the tomatoes into it for about 1 minute. Immediately drain the tomatoes and cover with cold water.
- When the tomatoes have cooled enough to touch, peel off the skins. Cut them in half and remove the seeds. Place in a blender.
- Next, peel the cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds/insides with a spoon and cut into chunks. Cut off the top of the red peppers and remove the inside seeds. Cut into smaller pieces, then add, along with the cucumbers, to the blender.
- Add the remaining ½ cup of tomato juice and ¼ cup of olive oil to the blender, then the salt, cilantro, chopped onion, parsley, and garlic cloves. Blend all ingredients together. I had to pulse the blender quite a bit and stir things around quite a lot to accomplish this task.
- At this point, my blender was pretty full, so I poured half of the blended mixture into a separate bowl.
- Add a few pieces of bread to the blender and blend to thicken the mixture. Continue adding the bread and any residual tomato juice/olive oil until the soup has thickened. Finally, add the jalapeno and blend until incorporated. Soup should be a bit chunky, not watery.
- If you had to remove some of the soup because your blender was too small, pour out some of the blended soup into the same bowl, stir, then add some back into the blender and blend. Continue to pour out/return to the blender until the soup in the bowl and the blender have combined and are consistent.
Thirsty For More? Check out these Summer-Friendly Recipes and Pairings