Hola from España! I am back at Suryalila and midway through cooking for about 45 people on another Yoga Teacher’s Training with Vidya. Everyone here is studying very hard right now and I am again in the Suryalila kitchen, where our team has happily hit cruising altitude and is flying smoothly through meal after beautiful meal.
What could be more appropriate for September Equinox in Southern Spain than Gazpacho Andaluz? Here is my favorite recipe – when I made it the first time I was here I was shy about how truly “Andalusian” it was, (especially with my obvious deviations, like fresh ginger!) but since then I have gotten the big thumbs-up from our local friend Manuel and many of our neighbors, so I now can proudly say it’s been officially sanctioned. The hard-boiled egg topping, “huevo duro”, was the only suggestion from Manuel – and it’s a great one – so I have added as an optional third condiment.
Gazpacho Andaluz – for 10
- 4 cups fresh sweet tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 cups cucumbers, peeled (seeds ok), in pieces
- 1 cup sweet red bell peppers, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 small red onion, cut small
- 1 T fresh ginger, cut small
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 t. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 t. freshly ground pepper, or to taste
- 1 T high quality sea or Himalayan salt
- 2 T honey or coconut sugar, or to taste
- 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in 2 cups water
Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl, then blend in batches in a Vitamix until completely silky smooth, adding tomato soak water if necessary to blend, or a little ice as necessary to keep cool. Adjust for salt and sweet, and chill well before serving.
Serve well chilled in a big bowl, along with small bowls of toppings…
- Homemade Garlic Croutons (or leave out, for gluten-free)
- Mixed Veggie Topping
- Huevo Duro (or leave out, for vegan version)
Homemade Garlic Croutons
- 8 slices of whole grain bread, torn or cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup high quality olive oil
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
- 1 T crushed garlic
Mix garlic, salt and pepper into olive oil in a large bowl, combining well. Add bread all at once and toss vigorously to coat all the bread as evenly as possible. Taste and adjust, adding more oil and salt if necessary. It should be delicious already. Toast slowly in a dry stainless or cast iron frying pan, stirring occasionally until browned and crunchy on all sides (my favorite method, since they stay a little soft in the middle) or toast in a 325° oven until crisp through.
Mixed Veggie Topping
- 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
Combine together and toss with a little olive oil and salt just before serving.
Huevo Duro (optional)
8 high quality eggs, hard-boiled for 10 minutes and diced.
A Note on Eggs…
Please make sure your eggs come from happy, pastured hens, or forget about using them. Seriously, this soup is fantastic without the huevo duro, and the only reason I am including it is this is how they do it here in Andalusia. Everyone who lives here seems to have chickens pecking around in their back yards, and happy, sun-drenched hens make for very good eggs. So please just skip the eggs if you can’t vouch for the happy hens.