When the heat is on and you just want something light, healthy and easy for lunch you could do worse than reach for a chilled bowl of home made Gazpacho soup. But we started thinking about making this traditional Spanish summer soup with the help of a little gin, so we began looking for recipes from similar minds. And apparently Gin Gazpacho is not such a crazy idea after all.
Breaking the rules
I know the purists amongst my Spanish friends may throw their hands up in the air in horror at this untraditional approach, but trust me, Gin Gazpacho is delicious. The perfect, refreshing dish to take away your hunger on a hot summer’s day. And the beauty of this (almost) guilt free lunch is that it’s easy to make and packed with healthy, natural Mediterranean goodness. But sometimes you have to break the rules. In another break with tradition, we’ve switched the traditional croutons for an easy to make olive biscuit that gives this liquid lunch a little extra body.
And then, for the all important gin kick, we’ve gone in with a Gin Mare, in keeping with our Spanish connection – and because it’s a damned good gin!
What is it about Gazpacho that makes it so special?
Originally from the far south of Spain, this Andalusian classic is basically a cold soup made with raw, blended vegetables and it’s now most widely eaten in Spain and Portugal. While there are dozens of variations across the country and around the world, it is a refreshingly cool lunch. Sort of like a thicker Bloody Mary but without the booze. Except for this recipe that unapologetically puts the booze right back in.
Most traditional Gazpacho recipes include stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt and vinegar. In the 19th century, the locals in Cordoba, Seville and Granada added tomatoes – and that’s how the most famous version has been ever since. Although, it’s not uncommon these days to find versions made with watermelon, cucumbers and even strawberries.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at this recipe and get you going.
Gin Gazpacho recipe
For the gazpacho:
- 1 large red pepper
- 1 large yellow pepper
- ½ large red onion
- ⅓ large cucumber
- 3-4 very ripe vine tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 250ml cold water
- 50ml Gin Mare
- Salt and pepper
For the Kalamata biscuits:
- 200g organic rolled oats
- 140g plain flour
- 140g cold butter, diced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 50g Kalamata olives, finely chopped and patted dry
- Hot water, as needed
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus at least one hour chilling
Cooking time: 20 minutes Serves 8 as tapas
For the gazpacho:
- Remove the seeds from the peppers and set aside a 1.5cm strip of each for the garnish. Roughly chop the remainder.
- Set aside about one-sixth of the onion for the garnish and roughly chop the remainder.
- Set aside a 2cm piece of the cucumber for the garnish and peel and chop the remainder.
- Place all the chopped vegetables in a bowl.
- Add the tomatoes, garlic, oil and vinegar. Lightly season, cover with the water and place in fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
- Remove from the fridge and, using a food processor, blend until smooth.
- Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Keep chilled until required.
- Finely dice the vegetables that were set aside and mix together.
- Before serving, stir in the Gin Mare.
Serve in a small bowl or glass with a teaspoon of the diced vegetables on top and the olive biscuits on the side.
For the Kalamata biscuits:
- Preheat the oven to 200°c/gas 6.
- Put all the dry ingredients except the olives and water in the bowl of a food processor.
- Gently blend until the butter is incorporated. Add the olives. On a low speed, slowly add hot water until a soft ‘dough’ is formed. Transfer to a floured surface and roll out until approx. 3-4mm thick.
- Cut out biscuits in the desired size and shape (we make 24 6cm biscuits from this amount) and place on a baking tray.
- Work quickly and avoid re-rolling the mixture too many times.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until light golden brown.
Remember, you can make these biscuits in advance, as long as you store them in an airtight container. They’re also delicious with cheese and paté. And a large Gin Mare and tonic – of course!
And we’ve chosen Gin Mare for a reason. With its unusual botanicals including wild juniper berries, Arbequina olives, basil, thyme and rosemary, it’s the perfect complement to this twist on a traditional dish. And it’s also one of our favourite Spanish gins, packed to the brim with the savoury flavours of the Mediterranean.
Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)
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