Confession. My first taste of Gazpacho Soup was from a Campbell’s can. Don’t bother trying to look for it, they don’t make it anymore, I’m pretty sure. Of course, I was fifteen at the time, and I heated it in the microwave because the concept of cold soup seemed more appealing to me than a glass of 12-year scotch (mmmmm…. 12-year scotch… Gimme, gimme, gimme!), but I never did forget the flavor. It was something that I had never seen served before or for a long time since. Actually, it was almost twenty years before I saw it on a menu again, and when I did, with much regret and sorrow, that long-awaited reunion between my palate and this mysteriously cool tomatoey delight, wound up just tasting like an undynamic restaurant salsa, practically unworthy of partnering with the most basic of tortilla chip.
The thing is, now that my adult brain and palate have taken over things, I get the appeal, even though I still have not had one that lived up to my memory of that fateful adolescent Campbell’s moment. Of course, I get that the Campbell’s version of Gazpacho was probably much less than delicious on a scale of 1-to-Gezpacho. I mean, I’ve consumed more than my fair share of Campbell’s Vegetable Beef, Split Pea, Chicken and Stars, Chicken and Spanish Rice… Ok, just to speed things along, I’ve probably eaten every flavor that Campbell’s has on the shelf.
So, let’s fast forward to the much older, and wiser Jim Clark palate of today. Today, for me, Gazpacho Soup is no longer a can of… well, probably the exact same ingredients and ratios that I put into tonight’s version, but listen, tonight is very fantastic, because the amazingly delicious nature of Gazpacho Soup was once again realized for me today. And, here’s what I have figured out about this Spanish-style soup.
Gazpacho is, ideally, a deliciously cool and liquidy bowl of salad with extra, extra cucumbers. Of course, in perfect synchronicity with “The List,” it arrives way too late (or early), considering it’s intended to be a cool refreshing summer soup, but is listed in early December. But, then, why wouldn’t it? “The List” listed Indian Puddings, as well as ginger and molasses treats as things to eat in the warming months of late February through May, so why not?
Still, since we’re doing it, we really just need to embrace it. I’m attaching the recipe I used, because I need it on the record, that this recipe, cut in half, and with adding just over a 1/2 tablespoon of cilantro, became almost exactly the memory of my first experience with this amazing soup. That’s not to say that it tasted the same as a can of Campbell’s soup. What I’m saying is, that it tasted just like my childhood memories of it. Like recreating the exaggerated memories of a first love, or the first time driving all alone, or… other things that in real life never usually hold up. This recipe did it, though! True, I added my own homemade hot sauce instead of Tabasco because the one I make is extremely tomato based. As much as I love Tabasco Sauce, that stuff has a very distinct, and sometimes distracting flavor.
The thing you should know about making Gazpacho Soup, before you do it, is that if you really want to make your own, (which you will likely have to do because I’ve not found this stuff available anywhere… ever!) you’re going to be chopping a lot of vegetables. Just know that, and you won’t be so grumpy when you’re inundated with veggie water drippings everywhere and a sore cutting finger. It’s all worth it, though! I truly am, most likely, going to do it again fairly soon. It really turned out great!
See you on Friday for National Cotton Candy day.