My most famous recipe is actually my wife's gazpacho...!
In the heat of August, we always have a pitcher of Tichi's cold tomato soup in our fridge.
In the heat of summer, open my refrigerator and there you will find it, a tall pitcher filled with gazpacho, ready for any moment. This cold tomato soup is the classic dish of Andalucía in southern Spain, my wife Patricia’s home and where she learned this recipe.
Gazpacho is now found throughout America, on restaurant menus and in grocery stores, made with all colors and varieties of fruits and vegetables…it’s not just tomatoes…but did you know that a gazpacho recipe appeared in one of America’s first cookbooks? I came across the recipe for gaspacha when I bought a first edition of The Virginia Housewife, written by Mary Randolph in 1824! I was astonished, a soup that is so deeply tied to Spain, written in one of the first cookbooks of this country. While Randolph's recipe is different from the style we make in Spain and in our home—she uses stewed tomatoes along with fresh ones—it is incredible to me to think about our shared culinary legacies, how cultures and histories can be combined in a humble soup.
In August when tomatoes are at their ripest and are everywhere at my farmers market, I like to play with all sorts of heirloom tomatoes to make gazpacho; not just the red ones, but maybe yellow ones, orange ones, purple ones, a whole rainbow of tomatoes! So have fun and use the ripest tomatoes you can find…sometimes as you know I ask for the seconds, the bruised ones, which can be even juicier than the perfect ones.
For the best flavor for the gazpacho, be sure to use a good Spanish sherry vinegar, and you’ll see that the Oloroso sherry adds extra depth to the flavor. And remember, gazpacho can keep for up to three days in the refrigerator…its flavor only gets better! Be sure to stir it well, or use an immersion blender, before serving since it may separate. Serve it by the glass or dress it up in a bowl with some cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, grilled bread, and a drizzle of olive oil.