FOR the last two months they have been holed up in Granada following a coronavirus travel nightmare (see Olive Press Issue 340). But now British couple Yianni Papoutsis, 44, (founder of MEATliquor in the UK), and Sophie O’Hara, 26, have turned lockdown into a culinary showdown. To continue their new series of quarantine recipes for the Olive Press, the pair show us their fresh twist on the country’s most famous soup. Stay tuned for more and check out their blog @nice.olation on Instagram.
Gazpacho, Serves 8 (starter) or 4 (main course)
WHO knew this rich chilled red soup started out white with no tomato content at all. Gazpacho has its origins in a simple soup of olive oil, bread, garlic and water eaten by the Greeks and Romans. We have the Moors to thank for refining it when tomatoes were brought back from the New World in the early 16th century, and they threw in a few almonds too.
It’s a great way to use up stale bread and soggy tomatoes which might otherwise be destined for the bin.
It freezes really well and you can go wild with the extra bits for toppings: now’s the time to dig out any jars of gherkins, beetroot and pickled onions gathering dust at the back of the cupboard.
Best enjoyed in the glaring sunshine with an ice cold glass of manzanilla, you can even use the leftovers for pasta sauce – or add a slug of vodka for the healthiest, tastiest Bloody Mary you’ll ever try.
- 80 g stale crusty bread (if yours is fresher, dry it out in the oven)
- 800 g ripe tomatoes (a mix of varieties, colours and sizes is best)
- 1 red pepper
- 1 green pepper
- 1 cucumber
- 1 jalapeño pepper (or other mild chilli pepper) optional
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 100 ml olive oil
- 2 1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 ice cubes
- A selection of the following toppings:
- 100g feta, crumbled
- 1/2 an avocado, diced
- 4-8 grapes, cut in half
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 handful toasted almond shavings
- 1 green spring onion, sliced
- 1 handful of torn mint leaves
Soak the stale bread in water for 10-15 minutes.
Set aside one third of the tomatoes, red and green peppers, cucumber and jalapeño. Roughly chop the remaining two thirds with garlic cloves and blend using a food processor or stick blender.
Squeeze the excess water out of the soggy bread with your hands and add it to the mixture. Pour in the oil and vinegar then blend until smooth. If your oil is extra virgin it can taste bitter so add it slowly, tasting as you go; sometimes it helps to add a pinch of sugar. Season to taste, then let it rest in the fridge for half an hour to chill.
Push the mixture through a sieve, then discard what’s left retaining the liquid. Toss in the ice cubes and return to the fridge for a minimum of half an hour.
Finely dice the reserved tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and jalapeño and place a handful in the centre of each bowl.
Give the soup a stir and taste; if you like it less thick you can add a splash of water. Gently pour the soup around the mound of diced ingredients. Serve with your choice of toppings and a drizzle of olive oil.