Gazpacho Andaluz

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I LOVE this (cold) soup so much. 
It's refreshing and healthy but feels like comfort food even though it's jammed packed with antioxidants. Native to southern Spain's Andalusia, it has a smell that takes me right back to childhood memories of growing up in Europe. 

There are different variations to this specialty, but this is how I've been making it. I think the most important part, is the quality of your produce, especially your tomatoes.
You want to find ripe and firm tomatoes that smell like they came fresh from the vine. 
When you pick out a loaf of bread, pick out one with a crusty exterior and soft juicy inside.

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Ingredients

 

The soup

2 slices of sourdough or country bread, crust removed and soaked in water, then squeezed dry

2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped 

1 small yellow onion, chopped (or half of a regular sized onion)

2 gloves of garlic, minced

2 1/2 lbs of tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
(I peel these tomatoes together with the ones for the garnishment and just set aside in different bowls.
If you don't know of the quick and easy way to peel tomatoes, click here.)

1 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp of red wine vinegar

Salt & Pepper to taste

 

Garnishment

Olive oil

2 tbsp garlic, minced or grated

2 slices of sourdough or country bread cut into 1/2-1 inch pieces (cubes)

2 cups tomatoes, diced, and peeled

1/2 cup cucumber, diced, peeled, and seeded

1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup yellow onion, minced

 

How to...

Put all the ingredients for the soup; the soaked bread, cucumbers, onion, garlic, tomatoes, bell pepper, olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper in a food processor or a blender. If you are using a blender it needs to be big or you will have to batch it up. Purée until smooth and then put the soup in a large bowl, covered in the fridge. 

Mix the ingredients for the garnishment; the tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper and yellow onion together in a bowl.

Heat a pan with olive oil, I like using my cast iron for this. Place the minced/grated garlic in the pan and when you are starting to smell the garlic, place the pieces of bread in the pan and fry until golden brown and crispy. 
Set aside in a bowl.

Serve the soup in chilled bowls and then add the garnishments on top. I keep a bowl of the croutons and the bowl with the "salsa" mix on the table so people can add as much as they want or as they eat the soup.

I also like slicing extra sourdough and serve on the side. I tear of little pieces of the bread with my hands and dip directly into the soup. Totally a euro thing... if you haven't done it before, you should.

Buen provecho!

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