Garry Watson, chef owner of Gordon’s Restaurant with Rooms in Inverkeilor brings a little bit of Spain to our kitchens with his gazpacho.
Gazpacho, pronounced “Gas-pat-cho”, is a flavour packed chilled tomato summery soup that originates in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.
It’s basically cucumber, tomatoes, garlic and shallots and sometimes red peppers whizzed up into a blender. It can just taste like pureed vegetables, so I like to put in a bit of chilli heat, a touch of basil and a dash of sherry vinegar.
Us Scots have been long suspicious of chilled soups – they seem unnatural somehow, in a climate usually more suited to tartan vacuum flasks and steaming broths.
Many of us just now would usually embank on holidays abroad, seeking the sunnier climates of the Mediterranean or Caribbean, while clear it hasn’t been on the cards for 2021.
However, we have had some amazing burst of sunny weather and I genuinely experienced a taste of Mediterranean when served a gazpacho shot to begin an amazing lunch while sat alfresco on the terrace taking in the stunning views of the North Sea at one of my favourite Scottish restaurants, Craig Millar @ 16 West End St Monans.
- 1kg of ripe plum tomatoes, core and chopped (no white flesh and seeds)
- 4 red peppers, deseeded and chopped
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
- Small bunch of basil leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- Splash Tabasco sauce
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar, to taste
- Pinch of caster sugar, to taste
- Sea salt and milled black pepper
- Add tomatoes, basil, cucumber, garlic and red peppers in a large bowl then season well with salt and pepper.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and mix squeezing out all the juices. Allow the mix to marinate for 24 hours in the fridge.
- Place all ingredients in the blender and blitz until smooth, add more olive oil if needed at this point.
- Add sherry vinegar, pinch of sugar and a dash of Tabasco, and season again to taste – ensure you taste and add just as necessary.
- Top tip: If your blender is less powerful than a sports car, you will definitely want to strain your gazpacho through a mill or sieve, the texture simply won’t be smooth enough. Good quality olive oil (without a bitter after taste) is what makes gazpacho and also gives a satisfying silky texture. Gazpacho can be stored in a sealed airtight container for four to five days chilled in the fridge.