How many recipes for gazpacho are there on the Internet?
And how many English-speaking people can say they were taught how to make it by their 70+year-old Spanish neighbour?
Who grew up in the campo, and doesn't read and write (apart from her name), and who still cooks Andalucian peasant cooking - even though her family prefers fast food.
Anyway, the answer is - me.
Not long after we moved in, she asked me round to show me how to make gazpacho. And ajoblanco too.
It's coming to tomato glut time. We got a couple of kilos from next-doors the other day after Jose had visited his cuñado. (pronounced - around here - cun-yow)
That's his brother-in-law, ie his sister's husband. But why mention the woman when you can describe the relationship in terms of a man? I know this because my father once described me as his son-in-law's wife.
Back to tomatoes. Today we got a few more kilos. Not sure what the total is now. But the fridge is full. Not much in there apart from tomatoes, but that's a start.
Yesterday we had tomato pilaff. Very nice, spicy but not hot. The chillies - fresh and dried - went in the salad. That way the dog can have tasty rice for breakfast. And we get hot curry, courtesy of the salad.
And while I was making the pilaff, I remembered we had not yet had gazpacho this summer.
So take four or five large tomatoes. Say 1 lb or more. Peel them if you choose. I take out the cores, at least.
Put them in a blender or a batidora container. Add one or two reasonable-sized cloves of garlic. Some slurps of olive oil. Quite a few slurps, eg around 2 fl ozs. Definitely has to be extra virgin, cold-pressed.
If you have a favourite, use that. If you don't like a strong-tasting one, use one of the blander mainstream ones. I use an aceite verdial from Periana in the hills behind us. I doubt it is exported. It costs around 20-25€ for five litres and it is excellent. Droolerific in fact.
Add some wine vinegar. Not too much, less than the olive oil, but say around a couple of tablespoons. Ordinary wine vinegar is fine because you need the sharpness, so don't mess with any trendy vinegars. I use Vinagre de Jerez at any opportunity, but this is not one. Your average 40 cents a litre stuff from the local supermercado is fine.
Add a pinch of salt. I use rock salt. Today I had run out, so it was salt-free.
Blend or batidora it. Put it in the freezer for a short while unless you are organised and have left enough time for it to chill in the fridge.
Then, when it is nice and cold, re-whizz. Zzzzzz. Now this is actually the technical bit. Depending on how much oil you have added, or how juicy your tomatoes are, you may want/need to add some cold water. Bottled - I use Primavera.
The other adjustment to be made is the salt:vinegar ratio. Stick finger in (not while the machine is switched on - apparently one needs to include these sort of warnings because people are really dumb) and test for flavour. A few times obviously. I think I have just breached a few hygiene regs here.
Then pour it out. In our village it is served as a drink, so it comes in glasses or cups. You can add ice cubes if you want.
No, it doesn't include peppers, cucumber, onion, or anything else, either whizzed up, or served on the side. This is a village, not a restaurant.
Finally, Gazpacho Loving Partner was busy painting the house of a neighbour with another English guy. The woman - from Madrid - offered them gazpacho (the weather was well hot). "Yes," said Partner. And promptly had seconds. "Delicioso, muchas gracias."
"God, I hate that foreign slop," said the other guy, (he lived with a Spanish woman) and he didn't touch a drop.
So it's basically a refreshing drink round here. And when I have enough cheap tomatoes - like now - there is always some in my fridge. If you like tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and vinegar - it's for you - great stuff, at any time of day. But if, like Bob, you don't like foreign slop......
Edited to add (in view of the comments) Note to British readers and others in unsunny unwarm climes - you need sunny grown tomatoes, not nice firm ones from Blackpool or whereever. It tastes much better on a warm day. It's not a cool weather drink. A bit like gin and tonic....