Elena’s gazpacho

The Man and I had the great good fortune to be befriended by two Sevillanos on the plane from London. Nacho and Elena were truly generous hosts, showing us their Seville and insisting on taking us to the locals’ favourite beach for the day. Green water, white sand, lunch at a ciringito (beach taverna) and Africa on the horizon- bliss!

Elena also gave me detailed instruction in how to prepare the Andalucian cold tomato soup, gazpacho.

It should be orange, she said, not red. And it should be totally pureed with no lumps. Gazpacho is a drink, Elena said, it should not be thick, like the kind she had seen on sale on holiday in London, but it should have body. Using a thick slice of good, crusty bread is important to give it texture. The main individual variations are in the use of garlic and vinegar – although there was a debate at the lunch table over the inclusion, or not, of cucumber.

Elena was keen for me to try gazpacho and ordered it at the ciringito. Below is a pic:

For someone who has never been able to eat raw tomato, it’s odd that gazpacho is my new favourite thing. It’s the perfect food for hot, hot, hot weather and especially after a week of too many deep-fried jamon croquettes.

Here is a picture of my gazpacho, made to Elena’s instructions:

And this is Elena’s gazpacho (for 2 people):

Soak a thick slice of good, crusty bread in cold water, to a depth of about a finger above the bread.

Blanch and peel 1kg of ripe tomatoes. Chop (the seeds are OK). Put in with the bread.

Peel a cucumber (the small seedless/ Lebanese kind, not the enormous English ones). Chop and add to the bread and tomato.

Chop and add 1 small or half a large green pepper, the long narrow ones, not the fat capsicums.

Add 1 clove crushed garlic and a spoon of vinegar.

Add half a water glass olive oil (Elena says this is v important for texture and flavour)

Puree all to a smooth consistency. Taste and adjust the vinegar and salt (no pepper). Also check for the amount of water, which can come from an ice cube in the bowl. Chill and serve in tall glasses or small bowls.

Eat. Repeat.

Muchos gracias Elena!!!

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8 Responses to Elena’s gazpacho

  1. Elena checked the draft of this and emphasised the importance of the olive oil and that there is no pepper in gazpacho. I have been guided by the expert!

  2. Marguerite says:

    This sounds really lovely and would suit Perth so well. I remember I made a recipe for gazpacho that is in one of my Woman’s Weekly recipe books (at least I think it was from there) and I made it a few times when you were a baby. It was nice, but having no experience of eating it in the country of origin, I think means that I had not point of reference for the dish – neither how it should taste nor where it fits into the culture, so there was no context – if you see what I mean. I do remember how much we liked the gazpacho in Barcelona.

    • The gazpacho we had in Barcelona was good, but it is called ‘gazpacho Andaluz’ on all the menus, including in Madrid, so it’s nice to have eaten it and learnt to make it in its home region.

      The Woman’s Weekly eh? Where would we be without it?!

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  4. francesca says:

    This looks absolutely delicious. My tummy has started to rumble just looking at the pictures. Paired with a glass of white wine and a hot, hot day and it would be a heavenly combination! X

  5. FDB says:


    Careful when you say ‘no pepper’ to Los Janquis though – they’ll think you’re leaving out the capsicum.

  6. – FDB
    You are right. Elena already checked with me that ‘green pepper’ and ‘pepper’ are not the same thing. It is confusing and a I’ve only got into calling them that since living in the UK. Till then, I called ‘peppers’ capsicums – and aubergines eggplants, corgettes zucchinis… and trousers pants. The latter has led to some amusing confusions because pants mean knickers… but I’m off topic 😉

  7. togram says:

    Yummo! We are just heading in to the warmer weather here, so hopefully soon the tomatoes will be nice enough to make this recipe.

    Off topic: for embarrassing hilarity, try calling flipflops “thongs”.

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