This weekend was glorious – a welcome little heatwave after a dingy May and June. So much so that on the train back from Brighton, all I could think about was making a batch of cooling, fresh gazpacho.
It’s perfect. It’s like having an enormous Bloody Mary for dinner, but without the nagging risk that your friends will stage an intervention.
Tomatoes, cucumber, a little pepper, plenty of garlic, and some old bread are the core of it. Of course, being peasant food, everything – including the tomatoes – is subject to debate.
As is often the case, Felicity Cloake has done the hard work of untangling all of this so I don’t have to. I more or less just made her recipe.
I won’t give mine in full here – you can check it out online or pick up her book. But I will point up a few little tweaks. My tomatoes, for instance, weren’t quite ripe enough. They were a touch over acid, so I switched out the sherry vinegar for a heavy slug of actual fino sherry. I fucking love sherry.
At this point, of course, I practically was making a bloody mary, so I also added a stick of celery. The freshness of it works, and a single stick doesn’t overpower. The bread was rye, because that’s what I had. But I don’t think it really mattered much. If anything, it darkened the colour, and maybe sweetened a touch. Naturally, I stepped up the garlic.
The garnish is a little chorizo, fried with garlic and slivers of chilli. This is probably overkill, and can entirely be skipped.
Pressing everything through the sieve is a bit of a pain in the cock, but it’s worth it. The gazpacho is perfect for summer evenings with a little bread and wine. Or just the rest of the sherry.