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Spanish chef Gabriela Llamas shares her favorite gazpacho recipes


By Gabriela Lamas

Washington Post Special

MADRID – In Spain, there are as many gazpachos as there are Spaniards. Each family here has their own recipe with their own little changes.

I much prefer the gazpacho made at the mill, because it allows a certain texture, and that’s how it was done when I was young. Nowadays it’s done in a blender, but it doesn’t look exactly the same. Machine-mixed gazpacho with bread and olive oil is more like a salmorejo, but without the creamy sweetness of this soup.

Although tomatoes and peppers arrived on our tables in the 16th century, the red gazpachos that used them did not become popular until the 19th century. Large families of landowners who had many country workers usually had a “gazpachero”, a man who prepared gazpacho for the peasants working on their estates. These men made gazpacho by beating the mixture of vegetables in an olive wood bowl, as in a mortar. They were very patient because it took a while.

The main difference between gazpacho and some of its variations is the texture and emulsion. In a classic Spanish gazpacho, olive oil is simply mixed at the end; in salmorejo, porra, and other soups, olive oil is emulsified, resulting in a brighter orange color and a smooth, creamy texture. The components of Pipirrana are the same as those of gazpacho, but they are diced; with the addition of a little water or ice cubes, it turns into a liquid salad, and the bread is served separately, for dipping.

(When making salmorejo or porra, which uses a larger amount of bread, it is advisable to process the ingredients twice to achieve a smooth, velvety texture.)

Gazpacho is a refined dish that comes in a multitude of variations. But with all its versatility, it still requires a certain balance of components. In particular, too much sherry or garlic vinegar can spoil it.

Here in Spain, gazpacho can be a drink, an appetizer, a tapa, a dip, a sauce or a seasoning, a starter, a main course, or even a dessert. It is consumed at any time of the day and at any time during a meal. Nothing is more delicious than a piece of toast smeared with a little gazpacho or salmorejo for breakfast! Gazpacho goes well with almost anything but is difficult to pair with wine. The best wines to drink with gazpacho are sherry (fortified wines from Jerez) and whites.

Gazpacho can be served in a glass or bowl, on a plate, as a dip, with toppings on the side or on top, but always fresh or cold – never frozen, however, except for the exotic creations of the more adventurous chefs. The traditional terracotta bowl is perfect for maintaining its cool temperature during the hot summer months.

Llamas is a Madrid chef and cooking teacher at La Huerta del Emperador. She recently published “Let’s Cook Spanish, a Family Cookbook: Vamos a Cocinar Espanol, Recetas Para Toda la Familia” (Quarry Books, 2016).

Classic Gazpacho

It might be a bit thinner than the gazpachos you’re used to, but its consistency is authentically Spanish. Be sure to rinse the tomatoes before using them.

Prepare in advance: Vegetables should marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours and preferably overnight.

2 ½ pounds of tomatoes and their juice, peeled and chopped, plus diced tomatoes for garnish

1 small (3½ ounces) seeded and chopped red bell pepper, plus diced red bell pepper for garnish

2⁄3 cup (about 3 ounces) peeled and chopped cucumber (seedless or seedless), plus diced cucumber for garnish

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 slice of day-old bread (crust removed), torn into small pieces, smaller croutons for garnish (optional)

1½ teaspoons kosher or sea salt, or more as needed

1½ tablespoons of sherry vinegar, or more if needed

Small pinch of ground cumin (optional)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for an optional drizzle (see note)

White onion, diced, for garnish

Diced green bell pepper, for garnish

Combine chopped tomatoes, red pepper, cucumber, garlic and bread, if using, in an earthenware or glass bowl. Add salt, vinegar and cumin, if using, stirring to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours and preferably overnight.

To make the soup the traditional way, mash all the ingredients in the bowl. Place a fine mesh colander over a separate bowl, then, working in batches, use a flexible spatula to push the pureed mixture, including its liquid, through the colander. After extracting as much moisture as possible from the solids, discard them.

Faster methods: process the pickled mixture in a hand-cranked vegetable mill (using its smallest sieve); or place the pickled vegetables and their liquid in a high-powered blender and blend at maximum speed for about 1.5 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh strainer. (Discard the solids afterwards for these two methods as well.)

Stir the oil into the drained gazpacho. Taste; add salt and / or vinegar, as needed. Transfer to an airtight container; refrigerate until ready to use.

Serve chilled, with the toppings on the side – diced tomato, cucumber, onion, and red and green peppers; and croutons, if you use them – for everyone to help themselves to. Drizzle with a little oil, if desired.

4 servings (5½ cups). Nutrition per serving: 320 calories, 4 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 29 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 9 g sugar


It’s akin to gazpacho but made creamy and thicker with baked egg yolks and day-old bread. It is inexpensive to make but sophisticated – and beautiful in color.

5 ounces day-old bread without crust or firm bread

2 hard-boiled eggs, separated into yolks and whites

2½ pounds of peeled, peeled and seeded tomatoes (see note)

2 to 3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, plus more as needed

2 to 2½ tablespoons of sherry vinegar

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

3½ ounces of Iberian ham or sliced ​​cured ham, for garnish

Place bread in a mixing bowl; barely cover it with water and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain and wring it out to remove excess moisture.

Blend the bread with the cooked egg yolks, tomatoes, garlic (to taste), salt, vinegar (to taste) and oil; mash to an almost mayonnaise consistency.

Divide into small bowls or individual glasses.

Mince the remaining egg whites, then garnish each serving with a little of them and ham. Season lightly with salt, as desired.

Note: To peel tomatoes, mark a shallow X in the bottom. Immerse them in a bowl of just boiled water for 20-30 seconds, then immediately transfer them to an ice-water bath. The skins slide off easily. Seed the tomatoes by cutting them into quarters, then removing the pockets of gel from each.

6 to 8 servings (4¾ cups). Nutrition per serving (based on 8): 330 calories, 4 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 29 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 270 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar


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