For centuries, the people of Andalusia and neighboring Portugal enjoyed the benefits of gazpacho as a way to replenish vital minerals and vitamins during a hot summer’s day. Over the last decade or so, this dish has rocketed to international fame and is now a somewhat polarizing dish for those previously unfamiliar with it – some laud it is as a cure for every human ailment and suffering, while others ridicule it as ‘cold tomato soup’. Needless to say, I am a fan, and enjoy different variations the year round. After a long winter and plenty of festive meals, it’s always a good idea to look for healthy recipes. While gazpacho is traditionally a summer dish, here is a recipe which uses spring ingredients for an early boost to your health.
What You’ll Need:
Let’s start off with the traditional base ingredients for an Andalusian gazpacho. Gather together leftover baguette crumbs and crusts (if you have very little, chop the end off of a baguette). You’ll then need a cucumber; red, green and yellow bell peppers; tomatoes; a large onion, one or two cloves of garlic and some olive oil. Whereas a gazpacho in the late summer would be great with a couple of splashes of red wine vinegar, we’ll use the juice of a lemon for this spring recipe (Eureka and Lisbon lemons work best, as they are available year-round).
Add to these the spring ingredients which will give you the boost you need after a long winter: Asparagus, wheat grass, barley green, kale and rocket make great additions, which will give you some great health benefits. Finely chop some mint and fennel and add it to the mixture.
How to Prepare Spring Gazpacho:
The traditional way to prepare the ingredients (bar the oil and juice) is to chop them up and the pound them together in a mortar. If you decide to use this method, be sure to really smash the ingredients into a pulp, allowing the juices to flow out, while avoiding any large or stringy bits of peel. In this day and age, it’s much more convenient to throw all of the ingredients into a blender, and mix until it is almost completely liquid.
Once it’s ready, add the lemon juice and oil, plus cold water to find a good consistency. Spring gazpacho shouldn’t be runny or watery, but on the other hand, it shouldn’t just appear to be a mushy pulp.
How to Serve Spring Gazpacho:
Salt lovers will be reaching for the shaker at this point, but it’s healthier to season the spring gazpacho just with black pepper. If you’re serving it in bowls, you can garnish it with some more of the finely chopped mint and fennel.
The key to getting all the health benefits of spring gazpacho, is to consume it immediately. As the minutes go by, it begins to lose some of its nutritional value. If you do need to store it, keep it covered and refrigerated, and consume within one day.