At a recent Meetup supper, the theme was Spanish Flair. As always, the food was nearly as good as the company. And everyone stayed late into the night, talking in laughing. The contributions ranged from spanish tortillas to an amazing pan of seafood paella. I chose to do a gazpacho. The gazpacho I've made before always had a pretty Americanized spin on it, usually just chopped up veggies with a fresh tomato base. But I've had a slight infatuation with Spanish food lately and after watching a gazpacho featured episode of From Spain With Love on Cooking Channel, I was inspired to create something with a little more authenticity.
The first I made is a roasted red pepper and tomato gazpacho. I roasted about every veggie that went into this: red pepper, roma tomatoes, garlic, and sweet onion. I diced up and tossed them on a sheet pan with fresh oregano and thyme, s&p, and spanish EVOO and roasted until they were a beautiful golden brown. The roasting made this soup what it is. You get the rich, concentrated flavor of the veggies plus the liquid that releases from them make a flavorful base for the soup. Everything gets blended together with almond flour that's been soaked in white wine and lemon juice and the resulting soup is thick and creamy and so very flavorful.
The second I chose to do was a little less traditional but a lighter, raw version for the warmth we still had going on. You can find the recipe here.
Roasted Pepper Gazpacho with Manchego
1 lb. roma tomatoes, diced
2 large red peppers, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
3 T. EVOO
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
2 sprigs each fresh thyme and oregano
1 T. tomato puree
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. tabasco or other hot sauce (optional)
juice of 1 fresh lemon
1/4 c. sweet white wine
1/2 c. blanched almond flour
1 yellow pepper, diced
manchego cheese slices, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 425F. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, white wine, and almond flour and set aside to soak.
On a large sheet pan, toss tomatoes, red peppers, onion, garlic, EVOO, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs together. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the juices are rendered and the veggies are beginning to turn a golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Combine the roasted ingredients, soaked almond flour, tomato puree, vinegar, hot sauce in a large blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes on high until fully combined. Pour into a large serving bowl and mix in the yellow pepper. Serve with manchego cheese garnish, if desired.