A Spanish classic evolves
In Spain, chefs and home cooks love to experiment with the country's favorite cold soup, gazpacho.
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"Is it a food? Is it a drink? With all its different ingredients and colors and textures, gazpacho offers so many possibilities," Garcia says. "It gives you a chance to be really creative." Creative indeed. This year, the 33-year-old chef introduced a new ajo blanco that uses smoke and a "snow" made from litchis to re-create the landscape of the nearby Sierra Nevada mountain range.Skip to next paragraph
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At the top of the gazpacho section of García's menu appears a title: "An approximation of the primal flavors of our land." The line is a reminder that for all his innovation, García, like so many Spaniards, is drawn to gazpacho not only for what it can become, but for what it has been. "If you're like me and you grew up in the area, you've been eating it since you were a baby," he says. "It marks you. Gazpacho is our culture."
Dani GarcÍa's Cherry Gazpacho With Anchovies and Fresh Cheese
For the soup
6 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and seeded
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 piece stale baguette, about 3 inches long
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or more, if desired
Salt to taste
1/2 pound puréed fresh cherries
In a blender, purée the tomatoes with the onion, pepper, garlic, and bread. When the mixture is smooth, season with salt and add olive oil and vinegar (taste to make sure the quantity of vinegar is to your liking). Then mix in the cherry purée, and taste again for salt and pass through a mesh sieve or chinoise. Discard solids and chill soup.
1 large bunch basil
1 liter (34 ounces) grapeseed oil
Blanch the basil in boiling water and drain immediately. Put in a blender and add the oil and mix until finely blended. Pass through a mesh strainer. Discard solids; set oil aside.
4 anchovy filets (good quality canned and drained are fine), cut in half
8 pistachios, shelled
1 log goat cheese
To assemble gazpacho, pour the chilled soup into four shallow bowls. Place two pistachios at 3 and 9 o'clock in each bowl and an anchovy piece at 12 and 6. Drizzle a little of the basil oil over the gazpacho, and dot with small pieces of the cheese. Serves 4.
1 chunk stale baguette, about 3 inches long, crusts removed, soaked in water
6 large, ripe tomatoes, cored and seeded
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled
Pinch of sweet pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika), optional
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
Croutons, diced cucumber, onion, and red bell pepper, for garnish
Squeeze the water out of the bread. Purée bread, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, and garlic in blender until smooth. Add pimenton if using, vinegar, and oil. If the soup is too thick, add water until it's the desired consistency. Add salt to taste. Press soup through a fine sieve. Discard solids. Chill until cold, then serve with garnishes of your choice. Serves 2 to 4.