When I start to crave gazpacho, it is a sign that summer is in full swing and I need an alternative to salad that is cold, refreshing and easy to make. And there is nothing more refreshing and savoury than gazpacho.
I have always struggled with smoothies and raw juices. They have always felt worthy and self righteous. I can manage a couple of mouthfuls and then I'm done. Gazpacho on the other hand is an entirely different thing. The classic Andalucian summer soup, rooted in peasant resourcefulness, making the most whatever was available is savoury and refreshing and inhabits a different league.
I shared my flat in London for a while with a psychotherapist from Seville. Uprooted and displaced due to the financial crisis in Spain, he had made his way to London to create a new life.
I had asked him to teach me a classic Spanish dish and I came home from work one summer’s evening to a counter full of tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onions. He was going to share with me his family’s recipe for gazpacho.
As he and I chopped our way through the vegetables, chopping each one roughly before they made their way to the blender, I began to have an appreciation for simple ingredients. The smell of the tomatoes and peppers and garlic as the recipe unfolded was and still is, the smell of summer.
I have taken his recipe as a starting point to make this beetroot version. I had a bunch of beetroot lingering from my last veg box delivery and when the sun came out this weekend, it seemed like a great way to use them up.
I’ve replaced the stale breadcrumbs of a traditional gazpacho with almonds and added some mint and some dill. Goat’s cheese and beetroot are a nice combination and a little dollop of goat’s cheese mousse adds a touch of creamy luxury.
4 small beetroot, cooked and chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 spring onion, chopped
1 tbsp, chopped mint
1 tbsp chopped dill
2tbsp sherry vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp chopped almonds
Goat’s cheese mousse
125g soft goat’s cheese
25ml double cream
Place the ingredients into a blender, saving a tablespoon of chopped cucumber and spring onion for garnsihing, and blend until smooth.
For the goats cheese mousse, place the goat’s cheese in a bowl and add the milk, beat with a fork until there are no lumps. Beat the cream until it thickens and fold into the goat’s cheese and milk mixture.
Ladle into bowls sprinkling with chopped cucumber and spring onion and a spoonful of the mousse.