National Gazpacho Day: Montezuma to Andalusia
Quote for Today: I didn’t care much for the Gazpacho. I mean where is the fun of sending it back because it isn’t hot. 30 Rock
Today December 6th is National Gazpacho Day. Apparently, someone picking the National Holidays thinks like I do. A chilled, light and refreshing soup out on a deck in a parka. Why not? I can’t get enough Split Pea with Ham, Scotch Broth or Curry Pumpkin Bisque while sweating to death babysitting the grandkids by the pool when it is so hot I have to pick-up the cat to cross the driveway so he doesn’t burn his sensitive paws.
Gazpacho is an ancient dish and there are many theories about its origins. One opinion believes that it was an Arab soup of bread, olive oil, water and garlic that made its way to Spain and Portugal with the Moors. Many years later, the tomato and peppers made their way across the Atlantic from Montezuma’s garden in what is now Mexico City where they were added to this staple of Andalusian cuisine.
Malta – Moors
Modern versions of Gazpacho comes in many variations and colors often omitting tomato all together. In its place, avocados, cauliflower, watermelon, grapes, herbs, seafood and other ingredients have appeared. Fresh, ripe, flavorful tomatoes are hard enough to find in the summer especially if you are trying to get them from your local grocery store. And fruits, such as watermelon, are also difficult to obtain in December. With these obstacles in mind, here is a recipe for White Gazpacho made with cauliflower and cucumbers.
1 sm. head Cauliflower, cut into florets
3 slices Bread, stale and crustless
2 oz Pine nuts
3 cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 sm. Onion or shallot, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cup Almonds, blanched and slivered
1/2 Cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp Jalapeno, finely diced
1 tsp Curry Powder
1 tbsp Fresh Cilantro, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Cucumber, finely diced
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt as needed
In a large sauce pan of boiling salted water, cook the cauliflower until tender approximately 8-10 minutes. Drain, quickly cool in an ice bath then drain well. In a blender, add 1-1/2 cold water with the cooked cauliflower, bread, pine nuts, chopped garlic, rice wine vinegar, 1 cup of slivered almonds, coarsely chopped cucumber, Jalapeno and Cilantro. Blend until smooth. Add the olive oil and pulse until incorporated. If soup is too thick, add more water. Season with salt and refrigerate until completely chilled. Spread remaining almonds on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes until lightly golden. Pour Gazpacho into serving bowls and garnish with toasted almonds and finely diced cucumber.
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