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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Summer (Watermelon Tomato Spanish Gazpacho) Mornings…

A hearty cold soup for the warm summer- Spanish Gazpacho with tomatoes, watermelon, celery, coriander leaves, white bread n extra virgin olive oil n pink rock salt

My summer morning breakfast  is changing as the temperature waves keeps oscillating, for most of the time of the year I’m loyal to my set breakfast which is oatmeal in milk with sugar or honey or jaggery n with fruits sometimes n I never get bored of it- almost, even if I do get bored that feeling doesn’t stay long. The real trouble begins when  I realize there are no oats at home n I don’t know what should I cook which is healthy, hearty n all that stuff…for a moment I feel I’m in shallow water n I don’t know how should I move, should I walk or swim?

You know there are options, in fact a few good ones which is healthy and tasty at the same time, no I am not gonna say parantha...but I  will say a bowl of yogurt with dry flattened rice re-hydrated in water with a touch of sugar or honey, it’s just delish. Often I will prepare semolina with milk n ghee n sugar, sometimes on the savory side with semolina with tomato, onion, peas- but I have got bored of all of them except the bowl of yogurt with flattened rice.

In one of these days I made my very first gazpacho n I realized what a great breakfast food it is,  healthy n full of flavors and almost no cooking involved at all except peeling the tomatoes n making the passata, not that the tomatoes need to be peeled for every gazpacho but only for this particular recipe. The good thing about this cold soup is it is hearty, so it a meal in itself and you can serve it with a few croutons if you feel like, the prominent flavors are that of the tomatoes n the extra virgin olive oil and the watermelon. Few days ago I was going through a book by Yotam Ottolengchi n this recipe left an impression with me, it was a watermelon tomato gazpacho and both of them screamed ‘summer summer’ in the ears of my mind and I told myself “you have thought of making gazpacho so many times before, so maybe now you should really make it”, n I really made it n I’m very happy with the result, so a big thank you goes to the chef Ottolengchi.

There is certain feeling that comes to me as I involve myself with this chilled soup in  summer mornings, the crunchy croutons makes a pleasurable sound under the teeth and the cold soup is refreshing n light. So if you looking for another healthy summer recipe, this is the one, not just as breakfast, have it in warm afternoon or evenings. the original recipe has basil leaves in it , I replaced them with fresh coriander leaves because I love their flavor, in fact I was about to add musk melon to this recipe but that morning I just couldn’t find any in the market, I think it will be a great addition to this.

Gazpacho is an ancient dish; the name is of Arabic origin meaning ‘soaked bread’ literally, a popular dish in Spain n Portugal. Traditionally it is cooked in large clay bowls and served with garlic croutons and chopped raw vegetables, but vegetables are not the only options when serving Gazpacho, often hard boiled eggs are served with them, chopped ham, roasted cumin powder, crushed almonds are added often, why don’t you come with something for your family! Let me know when you come up with one. For now I will take you to the recipe.

For The Recipe: You will need

For the Gazpacho:
 Ripe tomatoes-500gm, about 6-7, blanched n peeled, then chopped
Celery stalks- 1 ½, washed well, fibers scraped if any, then chopped, only the lower parts
Garlic cloves- 1 ½ medium cloves
Onion- ¼ of medium onion, chopped
Watermelon flesh- 100 gm, seeded n chopped
White bread- crusts removed, then cut into 3 cm chunks
Tomato passata- 40 ml/ tomato juice
Coriander leaves- 3-4 tbsp, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil-50 ml
Pink rock salt- 2-3 pinches
Black pepper
Red wine vinegar-1/2 tbsp

For the Croutons:
White bread- cut into 2-3 cm chunks, about 100 gm
Soybean oil- 2 tbsp
Red wine vinegar-1 tsp
Salt – 3 pinches

For the Tomato Passata:
Tomato-2 medium, blended till smooth
Onion-1/2 small onion, chopped
Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp, chopped
Garlic- 1 small clove, chopped
Soybean oil-1 tbsp
Pink rock salt- a pinch
Salt, pepper
Honey- 1 tsp

1. For the passata, heat the oil in saucepan on medium low, add the garlic n onion,  don’t let the garlic  go brown , so stir n then add the tomato puree, add a bit of coriander leaves, give this about 7-10 minutes on low heat, when it will be concentrated, add the salt, pepper , pink rock salt n honey and the rest of the coriander leaves, mix well, add a dash of water if it is too dry, then take it off the heat.
2. First of all pour boiling water over the tomatoes, give them a minute, then replace with cold water and when you can handle peel the tomatoes by pulling their skin, then chop roughly. Put the tomatoes, celery, garlic, coriander leaves, watermelon, bread, passata into a blender with salt n black pepper, then blend until smooth, you can do with hand blender too, when smooth check for seasoning and adjust, after that with the blender still running add the vinegar and the oil and you are done, place it in a bowl, cover and let it chill in the refrigerator.
3. For the croutons pre-heat the oven to 200 Celsius, pour the oil in the baking sheet, add the vinegar and salt with the oil, then lightly toss the bread cubes in this mixture, heat a frying pan or griddle pan on high heat, when hot add the bread chunks and toss them in between until they are slightly charred but not too much which will take about 2 minutes, then pour them in the baking tray and place into the oven for about 8-10 minutes when they will get golden n crispy.

That’s all; it seems ridiculously simple, isn’t it? When the soup is chilled and you are ready to serve, pour the soup into bowls, place some fresh coriander leaves on top, a few cubes of cold watermelon cubes, a few drops of olive oil in each bowl, a little touch of salt and finally when you are eating drop the golden crispy croutons, but before you take the bite pause for a second and have a second look at the bowls, what a beautiful color…let it make you happy. Bon Appétit.

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