Delicious, refreshing, cool relief! Ahh! Gazpacho!
This is not the original Andalusian gazpacho recipe that is made with stale bread and vegetables. This is not a modern Andalusian gazpacho that is made with tomato and stale bread. This is not a watery thin gazpacho that modern chefs think is cool. This is not the old Ritz Carlton of Florida beach chiki hut restaurant style gazpacho recipe that looks more like a bowl of rotten fermenting chunky vegetables than a gazpacho. This is a cool refreshing California style gazpacho!
I used to serve a second rate gazpacho, when I worked for one of the Ritz Carlton tropical seven star resorts in Florida a few years ago. I did not care for the executive chef's interpretation of gazpacho at all. A cook from Haiti used to make the gazpacho in the main kitchen and the cook had no clue as to what a gazpacho really was. The Ritz presentation of the gazpacho was large chunks of vegetables in a chilled tomato sauce base. The Ritz gazpacho looked like a bad side dish of leftover vegetables. The gazpacho sat at room temperature and it fermented badly after 3 hours. Room temperature in Florida is well over 85 degrees! A Las Vegas health code inspector would have a field day over "Ready To Eat Food" not being kept at a safe minus 41 degrees. That is a major health code violation. In Florida, they simply have the best health inspection system that money can buy!
After serving lousy food that was prepared by second rate cooks and chefs at the newly opened Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida for 2 weeks, I quit and found a better job. I could foresee what was going to happen at that Ritz Carlton and I in no way wanted to be blamed for the low quality food that I was forced to serve. Needless to say, the upper management did not like the quality of the food at that newly opened Ritz Carlton either. They transferred the lackluster executive chef to an extremely demanding work environment at the Ritz Carlton of Beverly Hills location, where upon two weeks later that chef was fired for incompetence. Ritz Carlton management cleaned house at the Florida location and let many cooks pick up their last paycheck.
Six months later, a new chef brought the food quality up to a higher level. The food at that Florida Ritz Carlton was rated as being the 8th best out of 35,000 restaurants in Florida. I made a good decision to make my exit from the Ritz Carlton before tha corporate axe came down, especially when you consider that I took a job as a tournant at Wayne Huizenga's Registry Resort and my main task was working at a 3 star Michelin rated French restaurant as the entemetier. The food at the Registry Resort was at that time rated as the 7th best out of 35,000 restaurants in Florida! Being rated one better than the Ritz Carlton is never a bad thing!
Gazpacho is in nearly every garde manger chef's repertoire. Gazpacho spells refresh relief from a hot day in any language! Andalusian gazpacho was originally a cheap refreshing chilled minced vegetable and stale bread soup served in the hot afternoon to fieldworkers. Californian gazpacho usually has no stale bread in the recipe and it has a nice variety of vegetables.
The best gazpachos are minced by hand the old fashioned way. I made this gazpacho using only a paring knife and a ten inch chef knife. I prefer my home cooking to be done the old fashioned way. Knives must be razor sharp to mince or puree and for making the tomato rose garnish for this dish. You can use a food processor for this recipe, but the texture will not be like a great hand made gazpacho.
Californian Gazpacho Recipe:
This recipe makes 2 portions of soup!
Very finely mince a 1/2 cup of each of these vegetables:
- the white section of green onions
- red bell pepper
- green bell pepper
- peeled seeded cucumber
Place the minced vegetables into a mixing bowl.
Add 1 minced clove of garlic.
Add 1 very thin sliced green top of a green onion.
Add 1/2 cup of brunoise cut peeled seeded yellow squash. (Brunoise is 1/8"x 1/8" x1/8" dice.)
Add 1/2 cup of brunoise cut peeled seeded zicchini.
Using a very sharp paring knife, peel 5 ripe plum tomatoes. (Use one whole tomato peel to create a tomato rose garnish!)
Remove the seeds from the peeled tomatoes.
Very finely mince the peeled and seeded tomatoes, till they are nearly a puree.
Add the minced tomatoes to the mixing bowl.
Add a enough tomato juice to the vegetable mixture, while stirring, to give the gazpacho a soup consistency.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce.
Add 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of paprika.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
Add 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 1 teaspoon of minced Italian parsley.
Let the gazpacho stand at room temperature (68 to 72 degrees), covered for one hour, till the flavors meld.
California Gazpacho Presentation:
Ladle the gazpacho into a soup bowl.
Place some creme fraiche into a squirt bottle. (Creme fraiche is 1/2 sour cream + 1/2 cream.)
Paint a creme fraiche spiral on the surface of the gazpacho, starting from the center and spiraling outwards to the edge with the squirt bottle.
Place a parsley sprig on the center of the soup.
Place the reserved petite tomato rose garnish on the center of the soup over the parsley.
Viola! Refreshing, delicately spicy, cool, reviving, yummy gazpacho! Gazpacho should be served at room temperature or slightly chilled. Gazpacho should not be made hours ahead of time, unless it is chilled and then brought back to room temperature. This California style gazpacho has gotten plenty of compliments in any restaurant that I have made this recipe.
The original gazpachos had no cilantro in them. Cilantro is too strong for a gazpacho that features the delicate flavors of fresh summer vegetables. Relief from the heat is the theme of gazpacho! Yum! ... Shawna