More cucumber soups

Yesterday, in my posting “Cucumber soup”, it was cucumber and yog(h)urt soups, a topic that led Kathryn Burlingham to post a recipe from the August 2016 issue of bon appétit magazine, for a cucumber-tomatillo gazpacho — “A cool green zingy soup; pack it in a thermos on ice and take it picnicking or to the beach” — that sounds absolutely delicious (with the tomatillos supplyng crucial acidity), and comes with a fabulous piece of food photography (ba regularly produces masterpieces of the genre):


(#1) Cucumber-tomatillo gazpacho

The ingredients:

(#2)

And the preparation:

(#3)

Tomatillos and gazpacho. I take cucumbers as a given, and turn to the other two parts of cucumber-tomatillo gazpacho.

From my 12/29/15 posting “tomatillos”, about Physalis philadelphica, whose small fruits grow enclosed in an inedible paper-like husk and serve as a key ingredient in fresh and cooked Mexican and Central-American green sauces, where they contribute a tart flavor.


(#4) Tomatillo plants

The posting focuses on salsa verde, with sections on posole and hominy as well.

On to gazpacho. From Wikipedia:

Gazpacho, also called Andalusian gazpacho, is a cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables.  It originated in the southern regions of the Iberian peninsula, specifically Andalusia, and spread into the Algarve regions. Gazpacho is widely eaten in Spain and Portugal, particularly during hot summers, as it is refreshing and cool.

While there are other recipes called gazpacho, such as gazpacho manchego, the standard usage implies Andalusian gazpacho. There are also a number of dishes that are closely related to Andalusian gazpacho and often considered variants thereof …

There are many theories as to the origin of gazpacho, including one that says it is a soup of bread, olive oil, water, vinegar and garlic that arrived in Spain with the Romans. Once in Spain, it became a part of Andalusian cuisine, particularly in Córdoba, Seville, and Granada, the Moorish Al-Andalus regions; using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar, similar to ajoblanco. During the 19th century, red gazpacho was created when tomatoes were added to the ingredients. This version spread internationally, and remains commonly known.

There are many modern variations of gazpacho with avocados, cucumbers, parsley, strawberries, watermelon, grapes, meat stock, seafood, and other ingredients instead of tomatoes and bread.

In Andalusia, most gazpacho recipes include stale bread, tomato, cucumbers, onion, capsicum, garlic, olive oil, wine vinegar, water, and salt. Northern recipes often include cumin and/or pimentón (smoked sweet paprika).

The world of gazpachos is extraordinarily complex. In particular, the bread is sometimes entirely absent or appears only as croutons used as garnish, as in this version from the Epicurious site (“part of the Epicurious Online Cooking School, in partnership with the Culinary Institute of America”), contributed by David Kamen in September 2012:

(#5)

Ingredients: 3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 3 cups); 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 2 cups); 1 red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup); 1 medium onion, chopped (about 11/4 cups); 3 cups canned tomato juice; 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (such as tarragon, thyme, or parsley), chopped; 1/4 cup red wine vinegar; 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped; 2 tablespoons tomato paste; juice of 1/2 a lemon; kosher salt; cayenne pepper; 1 cup croutons, to garnish

Ths is very close to the gazpacho recipe used by Ann Daingerfield (Zwicky) 40-50 years ago — including the croutons as garnish — but I don’t think she actually followed a specific recipe; it was basically a chilled coarse-textured tomato-cucumber soup, varied with the materials on hand.

I have also experienced a refreshing smooth chilled (and entirely breadless) tomato-cucumber emulsion sometimes called gazpacho. Along the lines of this NY Times Cooking site recipe for “easy best gazpacho” (20 minutes prep time, plus chilling) by Julia Moskin:

(#6)

More of a drink than a soup, served in frosted glasses or chilled tumblers, gazpacho is perfect when it is too hot to eat but you need cold, salt and lunch all at the same time. Gazpacho is everywhere in Seville, Spain, where this recipe comes from, but it’s not the watered-down salsa or grainy vegetable purée often served in the United States. This version has no bread and is a creamy orange-pink rather than a lipstick red. That is because a large quantity of olive oil is required for making delicious gazpacho, rather than take-it-or-leave it gazpacho. The emulsion of red tomato juice, palest green cucumber juice and golden olive oil produces the right color and a smooth, almost fluffy texture.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: