Bloody Gazpacho

I have always found Bloody Marys rather difficult. That thick, gloopy, red tomato juice is just a little too thick for a hair of the dog that bit me. Invariably I am offered it after a very heavy night and upon drinking it I become dangerously close to doing exactly what it is designed to appease – throwing up. Also there is nothing in that drink that can in any way revitalise… unless you count the vodka and that is just deluded.

SO Bloody Gazpacho is what I recommend. If you have had the good sense to drink a good glassful of homemade gazpacho before you finally go to bed after that impossibly long session your hangover will be diminished considerably by the time you wake up.

You already have a head start when you decide the next day that the hair from the dog is ready to be plucked. Take your gazpacho from the fridge and pour it over ice into a good-sized glass, leaving enough room for a shot of vodka (large enough to kill last night’s ogre). Add the vodka, a good few shakes of Tabasco, a few more of Lee and Perrins, a grind of pepper, a pinch of celery salt and squeeze of lemon. Stir it all up with a stick of celery. If you have it to hand, pour in a little manzanilla – that’s Andalusian sherry to you and me. Appreciate your good fortune and then glug it down. Then have another one. Your day is surely set. The goodness of all the vegetables will revive you, the tang of the vinegar will awaken you and the condiments will please you. The vodka will of course wander off and do what it pleases with your brain. This is a good thing…

Gazpacho has been around for centuries apparently brought to Spain by the Moors. At first there were none of the New World vegetables, the predominant ingredients being garlic, onion and cucumber. There are of course a thousand different recipes but to my mind the best are the simple ones made only with vegetables with high levels of liquid – tomatoes, onions, garlic, green peppers, red peppers and cucumber. I don’t add bread to mine ‘cos I don’t feel the need. I love the crispness of it all and bread just seems to have no place. If you blend the vegetables enough it won’t need thickening. An important part of the recipe is the blending in of a lot of good quality olive oil at the end. It will have the effect of turning the soup’s colour to a delicious salmon pink and adds a velvetiness to the texture that is nothing short of endearing.


Gazpacho recipe

1 large red pepper (elongated Mediterranean, not Dutch bell if possible)
1 long Italian green pepper (not Dutch bell if possible)
500g very ripe tomatoes
1 Spanish onion
1 small cucumber
4 cloves of garlic (or a lot more)
50 ml Red wine vinegar
100 ml Olive Oil
Salt

Method
Deseed peppers and peel cucumbers, onions and garlic.
Rough chop everything.
Put all vegetables in a large container add vinegar and salt. Blend with stick blender until a rough puree. Put sieve (preferably conical) over a jug large enough to hold finished soup and pour puree through it, blending all the while. When this is done you should have a smooth red puree. Adjust the salt and vinegar. Pour in olive oil in constant stream whilst blending again. The finished soup should be almost salmon pink in colour with a viscous sheen to it, tasting sharp and sweet at the same time.