Turning the page on The Gazpacho Diaries. The air has changed. After a light rain before dawn, today is muggy and a little cooler. The crackling dry heat of summer has passed. It’s the last day of August, the last day of my grand Month of Gazpacho. I still have a pitcher of gazpacho in the fridge. But, maybe, with the arrival of some clouds, I’m ready to move on.
I’ve served gazpacho every single day for a month. In 31 days, I made 12 different batches of the stuff. I served it for lunch, for snacks, for tapas, on picnics and potlucks. To family, to guests, to kids.
Here are some notes from my gazpacho chronicles.
Gazpacho proves to be a potent antidote to heatstroke, as Ben found out when he overheated while clearing brush in the arroyo. Indeed, gazpacho was once the summer meal of threshers in the fields, providing nourishment (bread, olive oil and tomatoes), fluids, salt to prevent dehydration and vinegar to quench the thirst.
|Kids like gazpacho with chips.|
After a swim: gazpacho and chips, the perfect kid combo. From left, cousins Levi and Cloe Gordon and my grandson, Leo Searl. If you are packing gazpacho on a picnic or to a potluck, funnel it into a tall plastic water bottle for easy transport.
|Cool by the pool.|
Cool by the pool on a lazy summer’s day. Guests George and Marja Parker sit in the shade of a leafy fig tree and sip gazpacho from goblets. George (http://www.georgeparker.tv/) is an illusionist who performs worldwide.
Lunch: Leo enjoys gazpacho with corn-on-the-cob. Why not?
|Gazpacho with marinated fresh anchovies.|
Don’t serve gazpacho for late-night dinners, say Spanish friends. “Se repite,” it “repeats,” meaning the garlic and oil come burping back up. Not a problem, as gazpacho is so perfect in the sunshine, that it never occurred to me to serve it after dark.
At my house, we spooned gazpacho over grilled bread to serve with serrano ham, an Andalusian version of Catalan pan con tomate.
I used leftover gazpacho as a dressing for salad of green beans, sliced potatoes and greens.
|Penne with gazpacho "sauce."|
Gazpacho makes an instant, no-cook pasta sauce. Let the gazpacho come to room temperature. Toss it with hot penne. Add some sliced mozzarella and basil leaves. Or, use it as a dressing for a cold pasta salad.
In this month of gazpacho, I only regret that my own tomato garden has not met the daily challenge. I have had to buy tomatoes to keep up. And, although southern Spain is a tomato paradise, in that the real-deal, vine-ripened tomatoes are everywhere, the “heritage” varieties, the super-good tomatoes, are not to be found in ordinary markets. I had to seek them out at the monthly organic farmers’ markets or from individual growers. The best ones ever came from a guy named Ramón, a neighbor of a friend, whose has a river-bottom huerta near Tarifa.
In the first week of THE GAZPACHO DIARIES, I gave you the basic gazpacho recipe. In Week 2, I explored the flavors of different ingredients, the tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar. Week 3 was devoted to gazpacho spin-offs and variations. Hey, gazpacho Bloody Mary is pretty good! Last week I took you back in time, to pre-blender days, for a traditional country gazpacho.
Gazpacho is not always cold (see a recipe for hot gazpacho here). Sometimes it's not even gazpacho (see a recipe for cold melon soup here).It’s not always a soup, but can be a thick dip (see the salmorejo recipe) or a soupy salad (see pipirrana recipe). And, it’s not always red (see the recipe for gazpacho with no tomatoes--ajo blanco con uvas, white almond-garlic gazpacho).
I’m beginning to harvest almonds, so tomorrow, instead of gazpacho, I’ll be making ajo blanco. I’ll serve it room temperature, rather than chilled. I've just picked some juicy grapes to put in it.